On May 25, 2016, members of Functional #Transit #Winnipeg attended the federal government’s #climate change town hall in Winnipeg. We detailed the importance of #public transit in tackling #climate change in this follow-up letter to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna.
Dear Minister McKenna,
We are writing on behalf of Functional Transit Winnipeg, a transit advocacy organization that argues for frequent, accessible and affordable public transit.
We believe that creating a transit network that serves existing communities is critical to fighting climate change. Support from the Federal Government must be directed not only to capital projects, but also to help municipalities operate their transit networks.
The reasons for this are two fold:
- While building transit corridors creates certain advantages for specific, outlying areas of a city or region, Canadian cities suffer from decades of sprawl-oriented development that simply cannot be served efficiently by corridors. An absolutely critical component to any transit system is a comprehensive bus service network that reaches into these communities with high frequency service.
- To fight climate change, it is imperative to get individuals out of their cars. To do that, there must be a competitive transit system running close enough to the places that they need to go so that taking the bus is as convenient as driving.
Creating an appealing and acceptable transit system can be done most affordably by using existing roadways and can be done most competitively with buses arriving frequently near homes and businesses. Suburbs have a surplus of roads that could make transition to an excellent transit system easy and affordable. Repurposing parts of these roadways for bus priority lanes would be an affordable way to improve transit because it reuses infrastructure that has already been constructed.
The cost of operating gasoline powered vehicles in an oil-short world and the cost of fighting climate change through carbon pricing and offsets will affect the financial wellbeing of families. Those increased costs will be eliminated by a frequent, accessible and affordable public transit system, which individuals and families can rely on for day-to-day activities. A convenient and thorough transit network is necessary to fully tap the employment, educational, cultural and social opportunities throughout a city and particularly in neighbourhoods that are financially stressed.
Functional Transit Winnipeg is a grassroots group of individuals who argue for a frequent, accessible and affordable transit network. The improvements we argue for target the aspects of public transit that will transform it into a competitive form of transportation. We assert that transit corridors are less important than a system that operates frequently, accesses diverse amenities and arrives near homes and workplaces.
On behalf of Functional Transit Winnipeg