I read with interest Coun. Mike O’Reilly’s View From City Hall column in the Feb. 13 edition of KTW (‘Is the car still king in Kamloops?’).
In Kamloops, I am afraid it is.
Our transit system needs a lot of service upgrading in order for most of us to even think about parking our vehicles. If we could have a more reliable, efficient transit system that would service all parts of our city with the same, or close to the same, level of departures, more people would make use of it.
For instance, the southeast sector is still serviced by one-hour departures. Ridership is often low because the service it poor.
People have to be able to get to work on time and back home in a timely fashion. Students have the same issues.
There is absolutely no way that most people could park their vehicles and try to make use of the current service levels, although I would love to take transit frequently if it was not so onerous and dysfunctional.
During three- to four-hour intervals in the morning and evening commutes, many of the city’s main arteries become clogged with traffic.
It’s only going to get worse.
Does the city want to keep building more expensive road infrastructure or would it be better to divert some of the money into expanding and building a more user-friendly, efficient transit system?’
I suggest the latter.
Public transit has to become an entity that people want to use because it works for them.
City officials continue to boast about infill development and building permit values. At the same time they are encouraging even more vehicles on our streets. From a traffic perspective, this is counterproductive to reducing vehicles in our city.
Kamloops is travelling down the same road as all other cities, but is not improving or expanding its main artery road infrastructure at the same rate as other development.
We talk about people who have left the Vancouver area because it has become overcrowded, and unaffordable and its roads are gridlocked. Kamloops is facing the same future if we don’t start heading off the problem by thinking and doing things differently.
I don’t think continuing to build unsafe road-level walking and cycling paths — the only safety feature of which is a white line on the asphalt — is going to lead to many vehicles leaving our streets.
Further, we are a long way from being able to rely on affordable electric vehicles for the masses.
It is great that O’Reilly is attempting to move this discussion forward.
But he must convince his colleagues on council to take action and put some of the road infrastructure money into public transit that actually works for Kamloops’ citizens.
We cannot use transit if it doesn’t work well.