Edmontonians rank public transportation as the City’s top priority

If it were up to me, that would be the headline on the front of every newspaper and at the top of every news broadcast in Edmonton today. The result was buried in the middle of a report that goes to Council on Monday on the proposed downtown arena, but that makes it no less significant in my mind.

Edmontonians who participated in a statistically valid phone survey from December 20 to December 23 were asked what the key issues are that the City of Edmonton should address. Public transportation, and specifically LRT, came out on top.

The City is addressing this, of course, with an expansive plan to extend the LRT to all corners of the City. Shifting Edmonton’s Transportation Modes is also one of the goals in the City’s 10-year strategic plan, and public transportation is the key to achieving that. But we have to keep pushing. As the City’s Chief Economist John Rose said:

“[LRT is] the urban equivalent of an enabling technology – if you have it, you can do a lot of great things.”

Public transportation is costly – both to build and to operate. No question about that. But it’s worth it, and more importantly, Edmonton’s future success depends on it.

It’s important to remind ourselves, not to mention City Council, that improved public transportation is what Edmonton needs above all else.

9 thoughts on “Edmontonians rank public transportation as the City’s top priority

  1. The wording “are there any issues of importance you think the City of Edmonton should address” is pretty vague. I wish it weren’t true, but I would argue some of the people mentioning transit and LRT in particular might interpret “address” as “fix,” as in realigning away from Stony Plain Rd / fixing signal timing along 111 St / not spending money on LRT at all – none of which are necessarily positive changes for public transit.

    1. That’s true. But it would also include positive “fixes” such as moving to five car trains, more efficient bus service (as LRT expands bus routes are re-routed), service to the airport, etc.

  2. Has it not occurred to you there is obvious symbiosis between a downtown arena (and other major installations like the art gallery, NAIT, shopping centres, office towers) and an expanded LRT?
    Just as there is obvious symbiosis between a downtown arena and the ancillary businesses (shops, restaurants, bars, etc.) in the area?
    If you’re setting up a choice between a downtown arena and an expanded LRT, it’s a false choice.

  3. @ Mack D. Male
    I wasn’t comparing an arena to the LRT, just pointing out the two can and should be complementary.
    A well-functioning city is a system of inter-connected components, not a collection of discrete projects.
    A downtown arena is a destination for regular, large-scale ridership to the LRT, which in turn delivers consumers to a multi-faceted downtown area.

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