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Public Transit

The City is in the throws of doing a feasibility study on a public transit study. A group from Ontario are directing the exercise. A public meeting is being held on Thursday, January 17 at the Charlottetown Hotel at 7:00pm. It is an important issue. Prince Edward Island has NO Public Transportation. The city has one bus [OK, maybe two] that travels "around", but we all know that one bus does not a Transportation System make. For a province who fought furiously to keep cars out, once we got hold of the idea we took them on lock-stock-and barrel! There is hardly a yard in rural PEI that does not have at least three, four, even five cars in the yard. If you watch traffic coming to town each morning you will find that explaned. It is the exception to see a car with more than one person in it. If you ask rural Islanders about Charlottetown they will tell you in no uncertain terms that the city is a mess - there is NO parking in downtown Charlottetown. Translate that and it means that they can not find a place in front of the door that they want to enter, they have to feed parking meters and they get tickets! The same sad tale of woe is heard from Charlottetownians themselves. If we provided the square feet necessary to park all their cars we'd have no city left. There would be "no here, here". The Government Parking Lot was expanded last year and almost paved to the edges of what is left of Government Pond; breaking their own rules of protecting waterways. Malls have provided the answer for shoppers who never do measure the distance they walk in those lots in terms of city blocks. Among such a clearly dedicated group, if a transportation system was created would anyone use it? That is the dilemma and now we are looking at these Ontario people to provide us with a solution.. For a couple of years a small group of us met to discuss this issue. We went in circles, but we did produce a draft document. It was clear to us that we desperately needed transportation specialists AND that we should be involving the surrounding communities. It was also clear that there were many things we could do to begin changing the mind set. For instance improve our pedestrian walkways - the Routes For Nature and Health said that a long time ago. Can you believe that we do not have a walkway to our hospital that is just at the edge of downtown? Encourage travelling together. Talk walking - and biking. Money must be spent on educating and marketing the ideas. Learn from the non-smoking and littering campaigns. It is possible to change the mind set. We also wanted to reduce truck traffic or at least enforce the laws that exist at the moment. We really believed that if we beautified our streets and walkways they would be used more. Victoria Park is a perfect example. Get out to the meeting and put your minds to this problem and help solve it. AND if Pat Binns wants to preserve rural PEI he must, too, be a major player.

Written Sunday, January 13, 2002 at 03:20 PM

(c) 2000 by Catherine Hennessey. Questions or comments? Email me@catherinehennessey.com

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