London has had its share of growing pains.
While farmland on its outskirts is gobbled up by builders slapping up the slums of the future, downtown has suffered from malls drawing Londoners out of the core with their huge parking lots. It has happened in many cities this size. Give London some credit for working on it and for having a downtown that doesn’t look like a bombed out village. There’s a lot still going on and it’s a fun place to be.
The city wants to move traffic off a stretch of Dundas Street in the core and that means getting buses off that route. If you’ve ever driven down Dundas between Wellington and Ridout, pedestrians are already firmly in control. They jaywalk at will and it’s such a narrow stretch that you can’t possibly expect to get anywhere quickly by car. It makes sense to make it walkable. But the Transit Commission says it will need $1.7 million to make this happen. Our Mayor is completely fixated on not raising property taxes so I can’t imagine what he will cut to create this vision.
He’s also talking (again) about a ring-road for London and a host of other things that may not even be necessary for the way we move around in the future. More and more people seem to be able to work from home. That ring-road might end up looking a lot like abandoned Route 66, great for motorcyclists because there’s virtually no other traffic on it. I haven’t done the studies but I follow this more closely than most people here do. I can’t for the life of me figure out why municipal politics gets the short shrift when it comes to elections and attention. It has so much more of a direct influence on our lives.
The city needs credit, I think, for attempting to get people involved. ReThink London, the Roundtable, and accessible councillors are all trying to find out what Londoners think the priorities should be. So, let’s not be cynics and just make the effort to have a say. If not, we get the city we deserve. (Well, we do anyway, I mean after all, who elects council, right?)