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FW: [T_2000] Light Rail - Waterloo Region

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  • Andrew Dawson
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    Message 1 of 1 , May 4, 2004
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      >From: "xtocommuter" <bt401@...>
      >Reply-To: T_2000@yahoogroups.com
      >To: T_2000@yahoogroups.com
      >Subject: [T_2000] Light Rail - Waterloo Region
      >Date: Sat, 01 May 2004 21:58:21 -0000
      >
      >
      >Region expects word on funds for transit line
      >
      >TERRY PENDER
      >
      >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,
      >Thompson said.
      >
      >Urban sprawl is also related to traffic and pedestrian fatalities, he
      >said.
      >
      >"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
      >fabric.
      >
      >"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,
      >he said.
      >
      >"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
      >believes.
      >
      >"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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