Transit, the climate and why do I care so much about FRED on Steriods

Since finding out the Downtown Shuttle is not included in the recommendations coming forward to Council on Tuesday I’ve been really upset. Furious. Beyond reproach!

So what is the big deal its 6 buses: 3 going on a proposed north route and 3 on a south route. So what has me to the point of frustration that I actually washed down the walls in my bathroom and then most of the windows in my house? It starts with disappointment and ends in climate changing measure that all of us should be concerned about; this is everyone’s planet folks! 

My beef started with the way in which I found out the Downtown Shuttle was cut. Council was given the IBI report a week in advance so we could read through the 347-page document and be ready with questions for the Committee of the Whole to October 27th. I admit I didn’t crack open the book till Monday and when I did it left me puzzled. Where was the Shuttle? I flipped to the index, no shuttle… checked out the appendices, no Shuttle. 

Thought maybe I missed an email from a staff person explaining the removal of the project I cheerlead for 3 years. Nope, no explanation sent. Called the Mayor, he didn’t call me back. Called the CAO and his assistant told me to contact Transit. I was sent an email basically confirming my fear. Cut, with no real reason. Such an email would tick off anyone, but here is the kicker. Within the Regional Plan and HRM by Design there are several paragraphs devoted to an explanation of the need for such a service.

According to HRM by Design : “Creation of a frequent, high-capacity shuttle transit service within the downtown, and with connections to nearby destinations such as hospitals and universities, has several benefits.”

“Firstly, it can expand the reach of express transit services and ferries which stop at a single location downtown. It can improve connectivity within the downtown for visitors, shoppers, and employees alike. Using hybrid diesel-electric buses, the service can also reduce the impacts of buses on the downtown by reducing noise and emissions and allowing some routes to transfer passengers and turn around before entering the downtown.” 

So with the adoption of HRM by Design by the Province last week, why the heck was this keystone of the plan left out? Please someone tell me! 

Residents, workers and businesses were looking forward to this service. It would cut down the use of cars in the area, helping us save our planet. Such a service would help get people hooked on transit. They would then increase their ridership and we could build a true network of mobility.

This weekend I had to read a Proclamation for the Climate Change Rally.  I was in such a funk about this Shuttle issue, I felt like I should have apoligized to all participants  of the rally because HRM will not be going forward with the Shuttle.  By the way the Shuttles were to be of hybrid diesel-electric technology to minimize noise and emissions. 2 had been given to HRM by Concerve NS.  (I wonder where there are going to be used now?)

Alas, Tuesday is approaching. Hopefully I will get the answers to my questions. More importantly, I hope Council reinstates some form of this project. Mobility within the downtown areas of the peninsula would make it an attractive place for residents, businesses and visitors. Isn’t that what we need to achieve? A more vibrant downtown so we may grow?

What do you think?

Ps if you feel so inclined, please sign the petition that I will be presenting on Tuesday Oct 27th


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