This week, the Province of Ontario announced plans to build a new 4 lane highway between Guelph and Kitchener.
“Better roads will improve safety, create jobs, encourage economic growth and keep this community strong.” says Transportation Minster Donna Cansfield.
What of all the talk about improved public transit? I thought we were trying to reduce the number of single driver vehicles on the road. Will this encourage more people to drive a car to Kitchener?
City of Guelph Councillor Mike Salisbury had this to say about the provincial announcement:
“Ironically, while the Ontario government is committed to supporting improved transit system to run through the urban cores of Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo… the more than 21,000 commuters who travel daily between Kitchener and Guelph will be encouraged to drive their cars.
The reduction of personal vehicle use for commuting is not only a local or regional issue…it is a global issue. Effective, efficient and affordable public transportation is one of the easiest and most effective tools we have to improve this serious problem. Improved transit services within the Tri-cities area and to the Greater Toronto Area (including more frequent service, access to a range of destinations, and reduced travel times) would not only increase ridership and improve highway congestion, it is a key ingredient in an improved quality of life and hence an improvement in our competitive advantage and ability to attract investment and businesses.
Regional planning studies conducted over the last few years have clearly stated that continuing with road expansions alone is not a realistic or affordable option to manage growth. Instead, aggressive efforts need to be made to pursue land use and transportation policies that will promote public transit, reurbanization and greater transportation choice.
Rapid Transit is identified in the new Provincial Places to Grow Growth Plan, as one of the key catalysts to support downtown core revitalization and control urban sprawl in the Region. The city of Guelph must continue to promote and lobby the provincial government for an effective inter-regional transit system linking the entire Tri-Cities Region to the Greater Toronto Area, the City of Brantford and the City of Hamilton.”