Feb 17, 2007

Snow way to promote public transit

I read the following article in The Gazette (Montreal). This is not just something that happens in Montreal.. it happens in every city that has public transit.

There's nothing like a little snowstorm to illustrate while we Montrealers say all the right things about the environment and global warming, our heads might not be quite in the right place yet.

Anyone who tried to use public transit to get to work or school yesterday, or just to go shopping, will know exactly what we mean. The buses, trains and metros were all running yesterday, with a few understandable delays, but getting to them was a trial.

By 8 or 8:30 in the morning, the highways and main arterial streets in the city and the suburbs were cleared, right down to the pavement in many cases. Most of the residential side streets had also been ploughed. Every effort had been made, in other words, to clear the way for motorists to get out there and start burning some more hydro-carbons.

Meanwhile, what did transit users face as they ventured out into the wind to slog their way to the nearest bus stop or metro or train station? Buried sidewalks, that's what - and buried under not just 15 centimeters of fresh snow but often under great drifts of much heavier stuff, as well, cleared off the roads to make life easier for SUV drivers. The choice for many commuters was clear: either get snowshoes or walk on the road.

Getting on the bus was no picnic, either. Passengers often had to lurch uncertainly from an uncleared sidewalk across a bank of lumpy, ploughed snow to get to the door. And downtown, things weren't much better. Clearly, it's a much higher priority for the city's snow-removal crews to make sure cars can get down Crescent or Bishop Sts. than it is to clear a way for commuters.

This is getting things exactly backward if we're really serious about combating climate change by encouraging people to leave their cars at home and take the bus to work.

The priority after any snowstorm should be to clear the main bus routes, the sidewalks and the entrances to train and metro stations. Right now, such work appears to be an afterthought, almost a frill. The time has come to make motorists wait for a change.

Snow way to promote public transit.

1 comment:

karem allen said...

Other side of that is the buses drive on the road that has to be cleared also.

Snowbanks need to be cleared away from all bus stop areas.