Province looking at the BIG MOVE while Burlington takes small steps to get its transit service on a sounder financial footing.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  June 6th, 2012  –  Advocacy is getting a little bit slicker in Burlington.  The people that want to make it a better world and do it on their own dime are now sporting flashy corporate logo and getting their proceedings on cable television. – and bringing in some heavy  hitters when it comes to speakers.

If Burlington is going to see any real change in the transit service it offers – the crowd behind Bfast, –  Burlington for Accessible Transit is going to need all the clout it can muster.  At the Public session on the new “interim” routes transit is going to try for a period of about 18 months, our people in the field tell us that not a single politician appeared.  In Aldershot the ward Councillor did appear but other than a student who we think might have been lost there was no public.

Former Planning chief for Toronto and a past director of Metrolinx, Paul Bedford will speak to transit advocates at the Public Library June 11.

BFAST has invited former Toronto Chief Planner and director of Metrolinx, Paul Bedford to talk about how transit can be adequately funded.  Council is meeting at the same time  and so will miss the presentation.  However it will be on Cogeco Cable – they can catch it there.

Takes place on Monday, June 11 at 7.00 p.m. in the Centennial Room at the Burlington Central Public Library, 2331 New Street.  He will speak on transit issues in urban areas, the GTA and funding the Metrolinx Big Move.

BFAST will provide information about its mission, the current issues with Burlington transit, especially the proposed cuts to service in the proposed Burlington Transit Interim Transit Plan.

BFAST is a new citizens group in Burlington.  It is a coalition of interested individuals and organizations whose purpose is “To make transit better for Burlington residents and businesses.” You can contact this new group at

While Burlington fusses over its 54 bus fleet and people complain about empty buses driving by their homes the province looks at a much bigger picture and searches for a way to integrate transportation between the various communities stretching through what is referred to as the GTHA – The Greater Toronto Hamilton Area – and Burlington  is part of the west end of that reach into Hamilton.

The solution the province came up with was a document called The Big Move that was put together to a significant degree by former Burlington Mayor Rob MacIsaac.  It’s the $50 billion transportation plan the Toronto region can’t afford not to build. But where the money will come from still has to be figured out.

With 100 specific projects in the plan, the Metrolinx proposals will add 1,150 kilometres of new transit lines over the next 25 years.

Titled The Big Move: Transforming Transportation in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, the recommendations would ensure that 75 per cent of residents find themselves living within 2 kilometres of a dedicated rapid transit line, up from 42 per cent now.

Paul Bedford, transit advocate who will speak to Burlington Bfast types, has some well developed opinions on transit. should be a good listen.

Although the car would remain the dominant mode of transport in the large region under the Metrolinx vision, the percentage of trips taken on transit would increase to about 26 per cent, up from 16.5. Greenhouse gas emissions from cars would decline to 1.5 tonnes from 2.4 tonnes today.

Metrolinx hopes to spend $500 million on building 7,500 kilometres of on- and off-road bike lanes. It also wants a series of transportation hubs around the region to make it easy to transfer from one mode of transportation to another.

That’s the bigger picture – Burlington meanwhile is looking for ways to stop the bleeding on the financial side of its transit system by moving service levels to the routes that have decent ridership.

We have some distance to go on getting transit right in this city.

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