Why is Bus Rapid Transit best?
On Tuesday, May 31, City Council will make an important and final decision on what rapid transit will look like in our city. The Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee has endorsed a full Bus Rapid Transit plan for London.
A lot of people are wondering what changed between November 10, when Council unanimously supported the preliminary preferred option of a Light Rail Transit/Bus Rapid Transit Hybrid plan, and now.
The answer is simple; a carefully well thought out, unbiased, City staff-produced business case based on ridership numbers, dollars and sense.
The hybrid option, an ambitious project, was adopted in order to move the environmental assessment process forward; offering context and focus to your City Council as well as our funding partners.
There is no question our current transit system needs an overhaul and any one of the options debated would be a massive improvement. London is the largest city in Canada without a rapid transit system.
London absolutely needs rapid transit; and from my perspective, more specifically, Bus Rapid Transit.
Here are the reasons why:
When it comes to speed, technology and aesthetics BRT and LRT are strikingly similar. Where they differ is the cost and timing.
A full BRT system means Londoners will see upgrades sooner, with improvements starting as soon as 2018.
Many complain of the wait time between buses right now. BRT offers the most frequent pickup times with dedicated lanes running as often as every five minutes. If we were to push for Light Rail Transit, trains would arrive much less frequently.
A BRT system is extremely flexible and allows for those transit corridors to be re-routed should emergency construction projects pop up. With LRT, the tracks are permanent and we could see entire routes shut down just for routine road maintenance. Both options run on the same corridors, but the flexibility of BRT results in a more reliable rapid transit system overall.
I know there is some argument that Waterloo and Hamilton, both cities somewhat comparable to London, have opted for LRT. However, just this week it was announced the Waterloo project will be delayed by at least one year and will likely be over budget.
Meanwhile, Hamilton City Councillors fear many of the area's businesses will not survive the five year construction period. Hamilton has a population of nearly 520,000 people and there are concerns over ridership numbers. Even optimistic growth projections leave London well below Hamilton's current population 20 years from now.
The business case for BRT includes an option for electric buses, which I will be pushing for. The environment and the health of Londoners is always top of mind.
I am confident we have thoroughly explored every option and engaged in a healthy public debate on whether BRT or LRT is right for London.
This full BRT, $500-million undertaking is the largest infrastructure project our City has ever tackled. It’s expected to produce over $1.3-billion in economic, environmental and transportation benefits for our community.
So, after years of debating and fact checking, I absolutely believe Bus Rapid Transit is the best rapid transit solution for London.
Including the public participation meeting we held this past Thursday, there have been more than 100 community meetings and we have heard from more than 14,000 Londoners.
This will be BRT done right. This will be the right rapid transit program for London. This is city building. This is the London Plan.
Mayor Matt Brown
PS: The London Knights are playing in the Memorial Cup championship on Sunday night in Red Deer. Go Knights Go!
Thank you to both Derek Flynn and Michael Gregson for rushing to help a five-year-old stabbing victim last year. We are all proud of your heroic actions and lucky to have you as neighbours. To read more about the two being presented awards at the London Police Service Board Meeting click here.
Know a deserving Londoner who is helping to make our community an even better place for all? Let us know! Email us at email@example.com with “Outstanding Londoner” in the subject line.
Mayor Matt Brown chatting municipal politics with students from St. Catherine's of Siena Catholic School
Events and occasions
Met with Bruce McGuffin, Chair of Rockin’ New Year's Eve
Met with Marilyn Sinclair, President and CEO and Justin Leushner, Vice President of Techalliance
Home Opener of the Salvation Army Healthy Homes Baseball League
Launch of the Child and Youth Network’s,ifyouknew.ca anti-poverty initiative
10th Annual Father’s Day Breakfast with TVDSB Trustee Peter Jaffe to speak to the importance of men standing up to violence against women and girls
Tour of Northern eCommerce
Tour of Canada Games Aquatic Centre with The Honourable Kevin Flynn, MPP and Minister of Labour
School visit Ms. Benedetti’s 2/3 class at St. Catherine of Siena
Crime Stoppers: Jail-a-thon fundraiser at Covent Garden Market
$6-million investment announcement at Labatt’s Brewery to brew Prohibition Brew
Joint Meeting with the City of London and the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation
Mayor Matt Brown touring Northern eCommerce’s future Wellington Rd. site
Launch of the Child and Youth Network anti-poverty initiative
Mayor Matt Brown at Labatt Breweries in London for the launch of a new non-alcoholic beer, the “Budweiser Prohibition Brew”