Greg Woodruff - This, as far as I can see, has not worked anywhere on the planet.

opinionviolet 100x100By Greg Woodruff

August 30th, 2018



In 2014 I was going around saying Burlington’s transit strategy is no more complicated than “Walk, Bike or stay home.” I figured that would make others explain what the transit strategy actually was. No luck on that count 4 years later we have – absolutely nothing. The upside is the website didn’t need any adjusting for the 2018 campaign. The downside being I live here.

The transit strategy when it finally arrives I suspect it will be full of city math. Where 2+2 doesn’t equal 4, because 2 of those people will stay home for no explicable reason.

I once said to a City staff member at a meeting that; “There is no realistic way you can get 100,000 more people into Burlington.” I fear they took the comment as a dare because. The “Grow Bold” plan puts at least 100,000 people in Burlington.

Realty time. All these high-rise buildings sit atop massive parking lots – all these people are bringing cars. Maybe they are not bringing two cars like traditional suburbs, but they still bring cars. How if
100,000 plus people are coming are we not going to cross the James Ridge
50,000 car doomsday line? The math just doesn’t add up.

Never fear though this problem will be solved by the “New Burlingtonian” who for some reason buys a car but never uses it. Yes, they made sure to get a parking space and bought the car, but it never goes anywhere. Existing residents will find hours of new time for walking, biking and bussing.

As you can imagine, running for office, you end up talking to a lot of people. I’ve never run into one person who is planning to modify there life to fit this new paradigm; Not one.

So the manifestation of everyone going about their busy lives; getting groceries, getting the kids to soccer, visiting friends or going to work – is that the road system will keep becoming an ever greater waste of time.

Don’t worry say transit experts; at some point, driving will waste so much time – people will give up on it. They drive less – fewer cars on road – problem solved. The math is solved not by making the numbers add up, but by changing the definition of two. Changing how much and how people are expected to travel.

This as far as I can see has not worked anywhere on the planet. What you discover is that those people who bought parking spaces and cars – use them. Though the road system gets ever more painful – it’s not more painful than trying to walk home with a case of canned tomatoes.

I might have to modify my line  for the 2018 campaign to:  “Walk, Bike, stay home or waste incredible amounts of time and gas”.

Related new article:

Transportation study: A draft is sitting on a desk somewhere in city hall.

Greg WoodruffGreg Woodruff is a candidate for Mayor in Burlington.  He ran as a candidate for Chair of the Halton Regional Council.  Woodruff lives in Aldershot.

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14 comments to Greg Woodruff – This, as far as I can see, has not worked anywhere on the planet.

  • Jesse Bell

    How does hamilton do it? They are a larger city with no subway or lrt.

  • Lonely Taxpayer

    The “thing” about most transit – is that it takes people from where it is convenient for the *transit system* to another place convenient for the *transit system*.

    Transit rarely takes people directly from where it is convenient for the *people* to where it is convenient for the *people*.

    For example – no public transit runs directly from my house to my place of business. An eight minute car ride is over an hour by transit.

    If I want to take the GO train from Aldershot GO Station (in Halton) to Milton GO Station (in Halton) – I must connect at Union Station. 2 hours + 40 minutes

    If I want to then continue to Georgetown GO Station (also in Halton) I must re-connect again at Union Station. Another 2.5 hours assuming I make each connection

    GO transit built for the convenience of the GO rail lines – not the people in Halton.

    • Philip Waggett

      Exactly right! Most of the comments, whether from so-called professional planners or greenie advocates, ignore the most valuable commodities that motivates the huge majority of people seeking transportation—TIME & CONVENIENCE. Options to the car that are less time efficient and less convenient will simply not be acceptable to this huge majority despite all the theorists who advocate for less dependence on the automobile. Many of the transportation options to the car–whether it is public transit, cycling or walking work reasonably well in major urban centres where the distance between where we work, shop, play and live are reasonably short. But in suburban environments like Burlington, these distances are long–in cases of living and employment, extremely long, so there are not reasonable options despite what gurus like Jesus Toderian are peddling.

  • Steve D

    Yup, the orwellian term “intensification” really just means “overcrowding”. Occasionally you will hear an honest social engineer admit that. All with the goal of getting the masses out of their bourgeois cars, and onto mass transit, or bicycles. It goes right along with the “urban sprawl” term instead of “bedroom town” that was so highly sought after, until the social engineers thought they knew better about how we should live.

  • Susan L.

    Obviously having a lot fewer cars on the road would lessen traffic congestion enormously.

    One bus can carry 40 or more passengers, which easily equates to 30 or 40 fewer cars on the road per bus. Would you support a significant increase in the budget for Burlington Transit?

    • Ben Tuinman

      Most busses I observe have very few passengers….has the time come for smaller busses on selected routes….a cost saving because of fuel efficiencies ?

  • rob n

    You can spell relief “LRT” – Light Rapid Transit. Not as expensive as subways, faster than buses (unless you have dedicated bus lanes).

    You need to plan for this kind of investment. Not seeing this level of planning, or even vision, from CoB. sigh…

    Here are 6 Canadian rapid tranist systems being planned, or shovel ready now:

    LRT works in many cities – Calgary, Nice (France), Madrid, Toronto (although could use nicer cars – 50 years or so is quite old technology..)

    Toronto’s street cars actually work quite well. Number 2 in the world by ridership.

    Calgary’s C-trains are number 3 in world by ridership. Edmonton’s is number 8, Ottawa, number 8. All ahead of Atlanta and Dallas, much larger cities by population and sprawl.

  • Hans

    “…city math. Where 2+2 doesn’t equal 4” – That pretty well nails it 🙂

  • Eva Amos

    I keep hearing we can’t widen the roads. Lakeshore in front of Spencer Smith doesn’t have to be widened. The configuration just has to be changed. The bottleneck that has been created with this configuration has gone from bad to worse now that the hospital entrance is on Maple. The short left turn lane has created a new problem. Cars waiting to turn left to go to the hospital are now blocking the single through traffic lane. Return Lakeshore to 4 lanes as it was years ago. Pedestrians will still have the same width of road to cross. There is nothing calming about the configuration as it now stands. Add thousands of residents downtown it can only get worse.

    • The bottlenecking of lakeshore downtown is not a mistake. Its a deliberate attempt to prevent it from being used as a “through street.” City planning documents note that unlimited amounts of congestion are acceptable and are desired.
      It’s this kind of thing that residents just don’t understand. It is exactly this type of manufactured congestion that some hope to take city wide – In an attempt to use “social engineering” to reduce driving.

    • Hans

      I agree 100%.

  • Ben Tuinman

    All right Mr Woodruff…..I agree with your assesments….now, when you become Mayor, how will you correct this traffic situation in our City….curious….