Traffic. We've all sat in it. We've all cursed it. But we can't
live without it. Traffic brings goods to our store shelves, it
brings us to work and to school, and it brings us back home to our
families. Transportation is vital to the economic and social health
of a community. So we're stuck with traffic. But we don't have to
be stuck in it.
out our Second Transportation Survey!
It was to discuss traffic and more broadly public transportation
that the Northeast Avalon Regional Economic Development Board (NEA
REDB), in partnership with Happy City, recently carried out two
initiatives. On November 29, 2012, NEA REDB drew together a diverse
group with diverse needs to ask:
"How can we improve the regional movement of goods, workers
and students within the NE Avalon?"
A broad representation of the community was invited to this open
consultation: business, new Canadians, seniors, municipal
government, single parents, students, persons with disabilities,
and more. In parallel, an online survey solicited public feedback
on attitudes towards public transit.
The people around the table were asked, "What can public transit
do for you?" and the answers were as diverse as the groups
represented. Accessibility is the top priority for the Independent
Living Resource Centre. The Association for New Canadian's members
need it to get to job interviews and employment. For the Downtown
Development Commission, public transit is a way to reduce parking
congestion associated with the daily influx of workers.
But all groups and all answers had something in common. Everyone
agreed that transportation is foundational to everything in
society. We all have a common, universal need for convenient,
accessible transportation. In order to grow and prosper, we have to
answer needs such as:
- Addressing our labour shortage by providing a way for students
to access education, job seekers to get to interviews, and
employees to commute to work in a timely and efficient manner;
- Reducing healthcare costs by allowing people to seek care
earlier, seniors to remain more active, and people with
disabilities to be more independent;
- Easing traffic and parking congestion by allowing people to
leave their cars at home or offering "park and ride" solutions to
keep cars out of dense areas.
According to our respondents, our public transportation system
faces some serious challenges: poor routes, lack of service to many
areas, and long travel times. These are core issues of service that
need to be addressed.
The consensus was that the issues related to transit require a
coordinated regional effort, and to encourage this collaboration,
the provincial government must be involved. And in order to get
transportation "on the radar," the group identified challenges that
are already being discussed and pointing out how a transportation
network can help solve them.
A smooth and efficient system of public transportation will be a
massive boon to this region economically. And let's not forget that
a system of public transit is not just a way to get from A to B. At
its best, it is transformative. It literally and figuratively
connects a community. Done right, it becomes part of the identity
of a place, an iconic shorthand for a city like the trams of San
Francisco, the Paris Métro, or the London Underground.
You can view a full report of the dialogue and what we're
doing next here.
As St. John's and the Northeast Avalon region grow and expand,
we face a challenge and an opportunity to do transit right. What
can we do to make sure we get the public transportation system we
We want to know what you think! Please
fill out our survey by clicking here.