FW: [T_2000] Light Rail - Waterloo Region
>From: "xtocommuter" <bt401@...>_________________________________________________________________
>Subject: [T_2000] Light Rail - Waterloo Region
>Date: Sat, 01 May 2004 21:58:21 -0000
>Region expects word on funds for transit line
>TORONTO (May 1, 2004)
>Waterloo Region's top bureaucrat expects to hear from the federal and
>provincial governments within two weeks about funding for a $260-
>million light-rail transit line running from Conestoga Mall in north
>Waterloo to Fairview Park mall in south Kitchener.
>Yesterday, Gerry Thompson, the region's chief administrative officer,
>told a conference in Toronto on building cities that the region is
>ready, "no questions asked," to plunk down $86 million as the local
>share for the 14-kilometre rail line that will run through central
>Waterloo and downtown Kitchener.
>The rail line is the centrepiece of the region's plan to intensify
>housing and employment in the neighbourhoods along the track.
>The idea is to get people out of their cars, living and working in
>compact neighbourhoods where nearly everything they need is within a
>few minutes' walk.
>The proposed project would go a long way to reducing a list of
>serious ailments now linked to the dominance of automobiles and urban
>sprawl, such as asthma, Type 2 diabetes, obesity and depression,
>Urban sprawl is also related to traffic and pedestrian fatalities, he
>"Urban sprawl is linked with less walking, more obesity, high blood
>pressure and the causes of heart disease and cancer," Thompson said.
>"People who live less than 10 minutes' walking distance from a
>destination are more likely to be active."
>The conference, called Bringing City Building into Focus, was
>organized by the Canadian Urban Institute, and much of Thompson's
>presentation focused on the healthy benefits of cities with good
>public transportation, walkable neighbourhoods and a dense, urban
>"Make the healthy choice the easy choice," Thompson said.
>The light-rail transit is equivalent to an eight-lane freeway through
>the centre of Waterloo Region.
>"There is no way we are going to build an eight-lane freeway through
>Waterloo. If we did we should be strung up," Thompson said.
>The light-rail transit will, among other things, redirect growth
>inward by encouraging re-urbanization and growth of downtowns, and
>provide safe and convenient transportation options to reduce car use,
>"We have the opportunity to set a new tone, a new direction,"
>Thompson said. "The question is: Do we have the will?"
>The keynote speaker was Paul Bedford, who recently retired from his
>position as Toronto's chief urban planner.
>People should be able to live in a city without a car and not feel
>they are missing out on anything, said Bedford, who's lived in
>downtown Toronto for 12 years without a vehicle.
>"It's such a feeling of freedom," Bedford said.
>The man who led the highly praised remaking of Toronto's official
>plan, a massive document that governs land use throughout the city,
>made an impassioned plea for greater investment in public transit.
>Indeed, that's the single greatest step to improving urban life, he
>"I think, above all else, we have to make an all-out assault on
>transit," Bedford said. "If we don't succeed, this city (Toronto) and
>the region are in big, big trouble, and don't even think it isn't."
>The number of commuters coming into Toronto every day is equivalent
>to the population of Calgary, and drivers should have to pay tolls on
>the 400 series of highways in the Greater Toronto Area, Bedford said.
>That would raise $500 million to $800 million a year, money that
>could be used to bolster the transit system.
>"We have to have a total transit bias toward our city," Bedford said.
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