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.