Enough With the Planning, it's Time for Some Doing

This column from the <em>Globe and Mail</em> expresses some common frustrations with a slow-moving regional transportation plan.
September 28, 2008, 11am PDT | Nate Berg
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"The fact that it will take a generation at least to evaluate the merit of the province's vastly ambitious, $50-billion regional transportation plan - assuming it is adopted in anything near the form presented yesterday by Metrolinx, the agency that devised it - is no criticism. Long-term planning is both necessary for any work of this scale and, in its way, heroic - something that only the most advanced, stable societies can even contemplate, let alone stick with for as long as it takes to pay off.

So let's hear it for planning - in 20 years time, when it is ready to be judged.

In the meantime, it would be nice to see a little doing. There can be little hope for the big picture in the long term if local politicians continue to shy away from concrete, immediate initiatives needed to create alternatives to car travel.

Last year the city promised a renewed push to build the bicycle lanes it promised in a long neglected plan. But even that late push is now stalling in the face of trivial opposition. It makes you wonder: Does painting new lines on roads to indicate a discontinuous network of easily blockable bicycle lanes actually change anything? Or is it just an inexpensive way to feed the appetite for green policy without upsetting the status quo?"

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Published on Wednesday, September 24, 2008 in Globe and Mail
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