Screenshot from the game "Mini Metro"

TriTAG calls on Aissa to disclose transit plan

Municipal candidates opposed to ION light rail asked to provide details on what they would build instead

The Tri-Cities Transport Action Group is calling on regional chair candidate Jay Aissa and other municipal candidates opposed to the ION light rail project to reveal to the public what rapid transit solution they would implement as an alternative to ION. To date, TriTAG is not aware of any detailed, fully costed rapid transit plan from any candidate promising to cancel ION.

“Mr. Aissa says he has a plan for transit that is somehow both cheap and comprehensive, yet he hasn’t shown it to voters,” said Michael Druker of TriTAG. “We believe the public deserves to hear the details.”

“If Jay Aissa has the respect for voters he claims and truly believes in transparency, he will share the details of his supposed ‘plan’,” added Druker.

Specifically, TriTAG is asking Aissa and other candidates to provide details concerning:

  • the form of rapid transit they would build (e.g. more iXpress buses, buses with dedicated lanes, subways, etc.);
  • the route their planned rapid transit would take;
  • the debt and tax impact of their plan for both capital and operating expenses, and
  • the timeline for implementation of their planned rapid transit network

“If Mr. Aissa’s plan is dedicated rapid bus service for the ION route, that means more debt and higher taxes over the lifetime of the project. Ottawa has shown BRT means sky-high operating costs and a system that must be converted to light rail at huge expense,” said Taylor Byrnes of TriTAG. “The public needs to know whether Mr. Aissa’s plan can overcome both the cancellation costs for ION and high expenses to meet swelling ridership demand; or whether Mr. Aissa is just making empty promises he can’t keep.”

ION went through a decade of planning and public debate in Waterloo Region. If Mr. Aissa and other candidates want to overturn it overnight, TriTAG asks them to disclose their transit plans so voters have the weekend to scrutinize them before heading to the polls.

More TriTAG election resources:

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vote-train

Mythbusting the election: A week-long series

Monday: Myth #1 “We can save money by cancelling LRT”

Tuesday: Myth #2 “LRT will be more expensive to operate than buses”

Wednesday: Myth #3: “Cancelling LRT will lower your taxes.”

Thursday: Myth #4: “We will be $1.6 billion in debt by 2024.”

Friday: Myth #5: “LRT won’t benefit me.”

It’s election time in Waterloo Region, and it’s getting a bit crazy out there. While many candidates are presenting strong ideas and platforms, a few opportunists have carved out a “cancel LRT” niche, and they’re not afraid to kick the facts to the curbside to sell it. TriTAG is calling them out.

If you’ve been following us for a while, you’ll know that TriTAG has supported ION as a good plan to bring rapid transit to Waterloo Region. But we have also challenged the project team to make ION even better, sometimes being sharply critical of some decisions they have made. TriTAG wants to see ION be the best it can be: light rail will bring a lot of change to our cities, and will bring real transportation choice to many thousands of people. We have to get it right.

But change naturally has some voters concerned, and a few politicians are trying to cash in with single-issue campaigns designed to play up to people’s fears. That’s where we come in. TriTAG is going to put the myths being spread during this election to the test, to help you make your vote an informed one.

We hope you’ll join us.

Want to learn more?

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ION progress update report

Find our election survey for Waterloo Region, Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo candidates at tritag.ca/election2014

The Tri-cities Transport Action Group would like to make the following statement regarding Planning and Works Committee Report E-14-117 ION Construction – Progress Update:

TriTAG is pleased to see efforts well underway to build ION. With $739 million spent or committed by the time the next council takes office, and a further $1 billion in private investment along the Central Transit Corridor, the notion that this election is about whether or not to build light rail should finally be laid to rest.

TriTAG looks forward to hearing from all candidates about how they plan over the next four years to ensure the successful completion and operation of ION, and maximize the return on our transit investment. (more…)

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Actual cross-section design for Manitou. Note the 0.7 m   buffers between bicycles and motor vehicles.

Fear-mongering and dirty tricks on Manitou Drive

TriTAG is concerned by apparently disingenuous tactics being used in an attempt to derail plans for Waterloo Region’s first segregated bike lanes on Manitou Drive.

In August, the Regional Planning and Works Committee unanimously approved the preferred design option for the Manitou Drive improvements, which would include sidewalks and segregated bike lanes on both sides of the road. The segregated bike lanes would provide continuity between planned bike lanes to the north on Manitou Drive between Bleams and Fairway, and with bike lanes to the south on Doon Village Road. They would also help to form an on-road cycling route between the Doon Village neighbourhood, the Trans-Canada Trail, and ION rapid transit. Presently absent sidewalks would provide safe walking space and would be essential to expanding transit service to the area. Final approval of plans for Manitou Drive is scheduled for the Regional Council meeting on September 17, 2014.

Flyers have recently appeared in the Doon Village neighbourhood, claiming that the committee-approved bike lanes would be “very dangerous” and “cause fatalities.” As an alternative, they propose no sidewalks and one multi-use trail on the east side of the road, to be shared by both pedestrians and cyclists.  These flyers, which call on residents to contact Regional Council members, contain several errors and exaggerations, as we will outline below. (more…)

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