Wednesday, May 06, 2009

No Wonder Public Transit Sucks in Toronto: It's Number Three

Continuing from yesterday's rant on Bill Carroll's rant of Toronto's anti-car culture, I heard him say this morning that Toronto City Council's priorities are
  1. Pedestrians
  2. Bicycles
  3. Public Transit
  4. Cars
Bill does agree that pedestrians ought to be at the top of the food chain. And for the most part Toronto is a pedestrian-friendly city until you have to cross one of those wide, grand streets within the time allotted or navigate the litter of broken bricks on fancified streets or compete with garbage bins on garbage days or tip toe through the garbage that litters our city or try to maneuvre on icy sidewalks or play cat and mouse with bikes and cars due to lax traffic enforcement. That's how the city treats its top priority.

Bill was ranting about bicycles being number two. I don't think bicyclists would be too thrilled with being number two, given how it's treated. The city doesn't seem to meet its meagre bicycle path building goals even when it has the money. It doesn't clear them in the winter when the snows fall; it takes its time cleaning up fall leaves, making for slippery surfaces -- for pedestrians too. And on top of that, it's not interested in promoting bicycle-like alternatives, like e-bikes, Segways, and the like. Although these are under provincial jurisdiction for licensing, the city, if it was serious about being green, would make a massive PR push to get these alternatives on the road for people who want out of their cars but don't have the physical ability to pedal. But their collective raspberry to the teenage physically disabled who only wanted to ride a Segway with her parents so she could join them on a bike ride through the parks, says it all about their number two priority.

Public transit is number three?! Where do these pea brains think people in their cars will go to -- walking? Biking? Not likely. Most people in the city don't drive to the convenience store. They get in their cars for either longer journeys or ones requiring a lot of carrying of stuff, like groceries. And the mobility challenged need their cars to visit doctors, do errands, visit friends. There is no alternative for the latter, but if there was, public transit would be closest. None of these kind of car drivers are going to get out of their cars to go bike downtown. Really. No wonder public transit sucks in Toronto when city council is so dismissive of it that they put it number three. And think subways are elitist to point they don't want them.

And cars are number four. As I said yesterday, our councillors have a very simplistic view of who uses cars. As evidenced by their garbage policies, they couldn't care less about the least in society. As long as they can make stupid statements to puff their chests up enough to be seen as doing something, when they're not, they're happy. If they really wanted to make cars number four due to their polluting and space-hogging ways, they would encourage the Toronto-built Zenn car as a great city-alternative to polluting cars -- creating jobs here and cleaner air at the same time -- and they would have kept the TTC parking lots free. The city ought to be supporting the Zenn car -- if the police won't enforce the speed limits, encouraging every Torontonian to get one would do the trick. And as a non-car owner, I didn't care that car owners got free parking at the TTC. Why? Because more cars off the road, the better I can  breathe. I don't see cars as the enemy. I see them as an alternative mode of transport that the hale and hearty don't need, but people in need, people who can't walk far, people who provide services to others need the most, and we need not to be making their lives any tougher. Punishing the hale and hearty for using cars only punishes the vulnerable the most. The hale and hearty will rant like Bill, but continue to use their cars because they can afford it and because public transit remains stuck at number three priority.

The emerging pattern in all this is the real priority of Toronto City Council: get rid of people! They are bad bad bad especially the most vulnerable.

2 comments:

Marg said...

Love that last line

but then there would be nobody to elect them LOL

talk talk talk / Shireen said...

LOL! But once elected they never lose their seat anyway. Who needs elections? :P