Speaking Municipally ponders what to do about regional transit

Speaking Municipally ponders what to do about regional transit

· The Pulse

Episode 189 of Speaking Municipally looks ahead to what city council might do about regional transit after executive committee made no recommendation on whether to spend at least $7.2 million annually on the Edmonton Metropolitan Transit Services Commission's service plan.

The launch of regional transit would see 11 routes between Edmonton and participating communities in the metro region starting in the spring or summer of 2023.

"This has become one of those things where everybody thinks this is a good idea," said co-host Mack Male. "Being able to easily get around the region is a positive thing for labour attraction and retention and economic development and a whole bunch of other things. But nobody seems to want to put in the resources required to make it happen, or at least they're reluctant to do so."

It may seem like a hard sell to ask Edmontonians to either spend $7.2 million in cash or put up with an equivalent reduction in city transit services to fund their share of regional transit, but this may be a case where it's in our long-term interests to get regional transit going, however imperfectly, the show concluded.

"To reduce our car dependence in the region, we need to start," said co-host Troy Pavlek. "Every year we don't start doing this is another parking lot built, another highway built, another lane expanded. Those infrastructure costs that we don't bat an eye at are very hard to undo, and once they exist, it's very hard to convince the users of those very high-quality road infrastructures to switch to transit."

Male and Pavlek also discussed the imminent closure of the Scona Pool; the approval of new affordable housing units and the absence of provincial funding for support services; opposition to bringing some density to Glenora; and this council's decision to reverse a previous decision to close the city's aggregate recycling program.

Listen to the Sept. 9 episode. You can also subscribe, so you don't miss any future episodes.