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Letter to the Editor: Upshift London's transit

Opinion | March 27th, 2017




Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.
There has been a backlash of anti-transit from a group regarding London's attempt to implement rapid transit. This view seems to be very shortsighted and counter to the growth and development of London. Rapid Transit is a well-established way to promote growth of a city in a sustainable way. The introduction leads to new investment along transit corridors and helps foster local com­munities.

London's current transit network is out­dated and unable to provide adequate ser­vice to residents, resulting in low usage and underperforming financial burden. The Shift plan allows us to reset this process and establish a starting point for better transit services for everyone in the city.

Taking the bus is anything but efficient; it is no surprise that many Londoners rely on their cars. The routes are winding and often times the bus is late or early to the stops. The proposed Rapid Transit can help deliver consistent timings and help simplify bus routes by providing a backbone through the city.

As residents and business owners in this city, medium term pain during construction can reap benefits far into the future. Con­tinuing expansion of the city through road widening and annexation of land around the city is not a sustainable option. These new developments lead to additional costs for road and utility maintenance and prop­erty taxes will be increased to meet these requirements.

According to an article in the American Economic Review, in addition, multiple studies across North America have shown that road widening only increases conges­tion due to the supply and demand model of traffic flow.

According to an article by the World Resource Institute, rapid transit allows for population intensification, and redevelop­ment of existing neighbourhoods all while providing a source of income to offset maintenance costs.

According to an article in the American Economic Review, rapid transit, if imple­mented properly, will also provide a viable means of transportation thereby reducing the number of cars on the road.

Opponents, such as downshift, seek to delay the progress of rapid transit in hopes that it will be abandoned. This is evident in their goal of seeking to stop the project rather than discuss options to make the rap­id transit plan viable from all perspectives. The city is amenable to modifying imple­mentation to suit the needs of London, yet downshift has yet to provide any useful feedback as to how to assuage their com­plaints. This reminds me of the opposition to the construction of Budweiser Gardens, which has since become an economic cor­nerstone in our downtown.

Councillor Bill Squire, based off his com­ments to the London Free Press, seems to be quite outspoken in opposition to the rapid transit project. This strikes me as odd based on the fact that he is the councillor for the surrounding area of Western University and many students are reliant on public transit to get around the city. He seems to be do­ing a great disservice to a large portion of his constituents. Western and Fanshawe are huge economic drivers to this city and it is important that their students have input on this issue that impacts them greatly.

I urge anyone who supports the future of London's public transit to sign my petition at change.org/p/mayor-matt-brown-sup­port-london-on-transit-plans to reinforce the notion that public transit is something that Londoners want contrary to the opin­ions of a small but vocal minority.

Rapid transit will be a benefit to London, please sign petition if you support its devel­opment

Brent Brio
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