My letter to the Record on the LRT in Waterloo Region

I wrote a letter  to the Editor of The Record a couple of weeks ago and they published it here:

http://www.therecord.com/opinion/letters/article/533905–being-railroaded

For the vast army of my Blog readers, I am posting my original letter which exceeded their 200 word limit (enough words to introduce a topic, but not enough to really develop any kind of argument).

My position concerning the transit debate is: an LRT if necessary, but not necessarily an LRT.

 I believe we citizens have been poorly served by the planners. After all the concerns raised  these folks have given us basically two options: LRT (in many different forms) or a Rapid Bus that they claim won’t quite do the job. They also claim we will have to rebuild all our roads for the bus option and this will prevent us from easily moving to a LRT a few years later. Don’t we pay these folks to offer alternatives?

 What about articulated buses? Or buses that stop at every other stop? Or the many other options innovative cities have chosen? The choices we have been given are forcing us to choose LRT now before trying anything else or verifying the numbers they are giving us. Why aren’t more people angry about this lack of vision? Does anyone know about all the problems the Scarborough LRT has in the winter?

 The LRT is basically a replacement for the iExpress (which I ride from home to work) except it is less flexible and would drop me off further from work and further from the Mall than the iExpress currently does. Over 800 million dollars later, it would be a couple of minutes faster and not quite as convenient. I think it would also tear the heart out of downtown Waterloo. No more street parking as you pop into Starbucks for a coffee, or Long and McQuade for some cool gear. No more busker festival or any other alternate use of the street. 

I live in Kitchener and the LRT would benefit my life: it would offer a quieter and more reliable ride and would leave our rebuilt King street untouched. Perhaps some day it will be necessary. But why have we not been presented with more options? Why haven’t the politicians had any conversations with the planners and demanded more from them? Why do we have to decide by this June? It seems that we are being “railroaded” into choosing the LRT.

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