Transportation is foundational to everything in society

Regional Transit - Moving Bus

[Editor's note: This entry was written by Greg Knott of the Northeast Avalon Regional Economic Development Board (NEA REDB).]

Sometimes someone says something so perfect you wish you could take credit for it. At least I do. I'm lucky to have the pleasure of being in the company of some of the brightest minds in our province today and I get to hear statements that summarize things so perfectly they stop me in my tracks.

I had the pleasure recently of organizing a dialogue session on regional public transit in partnership with Happy City St. John's. My role in the meeting was as co-facilitator and recorder. I never said it, but I wish I had said this brilliant phrase:

"Transportation is foundational to everything in society."

Those six words, 18 syllables, so profoundly captured the message of the meeting it made me shiver. The meeting was attended by representatives of several municipalities in the region, Metrobus, and people representing organizations with expertise in community, social, and business development.

Few truer statements have ever been spoken. The creation of a strong and comprehensive regional transportation network is essential to community growth and sustainability. The northeast Avalon region is the second largest metro region in Atlantic Canada and twentieth largest in the country. But as of this writing, there is one regional transit network and only includes routes in St. John's and Mount Pearl. There is no transportation network reaching into the rest of the towns surrounding St. John's and Mount Pearl.

Tens of thousands of people in the region have no access to public transportation. The province and especially the northeast Avalon is experiencing unprecedented growth. Thousands of economic immigrants are arriving from places that have large public transportation networks and are expecting similar services when they arrive.

A survey released before the public transportation dialogue showed that 89% of the 359 people that completed the survey had used public transit elsewhere in the world. Convenient routes were mentioned by 92% of people as the best part of systems they've used elsewhere in the world. 

Regional public transit is essential in our province today as a means to address the growing labour force shortages; as a way to get unemployed people to the businesses looking to fill positions; to help address rising health care costs by enabling people without access to transportation to seek treatment earlier; to help address traffic congestion on our streets and highways as mega-projects ramp up and urban sprawl creeps farther and farther afield; and to help address environmental issues and personal energy consumption costs by removing vehicles from the road. The positive effects of regional public transit are endless.

Those that came to the meeting agreed that cooperation from the community along with support from municipalities and the government is essential to creating a strong public transit system. The Northeast Avalon Regional Economic Development Board will continue to work with Happy City St. John's to advocate at the community level and create opportunities for public discussion to move this important topic forward.

We hope you'll join the dialogue and share your thoughts with us, with your friends, family, and neighbours, and with decision makers at all levels of government.

Greg Knott
Economic Development Officer
Northeast Avalon Regional Economic Development Board

Written by Greg Knott at 11:15

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Hi Greg, I think you might be interested in sustainable happiness! I've just posted a blog over the weekend about Cities for People. The blog is about bringing sustainable happiness to life. I'll be presenting at this year's FCM conference on sustainable happiness for municipalities.
February 4, 2013 09:04


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