In early December the City released a Draft of it’s 2015-2040 Strategic Plan. The following are comments submitted to the City on behalf of BFAST:
Actions not matching words
Like previous strategic plans, this update contains a number of good goals and objectives. What is missing is the follow-up implementation reflected in specific plans, actions and budgets to make these goals a reality.
This is particularly true in the transportation sector in general and transit in particular. There are many statements about transit throughout the document:
“Key Strategic Impacts – “better infrastructure and public transportation”; More Public Transportation and Modal Splits”; and, “Improved traffic flows within the city and region through improved public transportation”
The fact that the City’s actions do not match its words can be seen in the soon to be approved City Budget for 2016. Despite overall cuts to the transit budget over the past four years, worsened by recent fare increases and service changes, the 2016 budget is exactly the same as the 2015 budget, In fact, when inflation is considered, the 2016 transit budget is actually less than 2015.
The service cuts, schedule changes, and fare increases has resulted in a 17% drop in transit ridership over the past three years. In contrast, our neighbor Oakville has seen large increases in transit use as a result of higher funding and the resulting better service levels.
Since the completion of the iTrans 5 year review in 2009, the city has had no well researched, long-term transit plan, Also, it appears that the ongoing Transportation Master Plan will not develop a long-term transit plan.
We note again that the OMB has required in its approval of ROPA 38, that Burlington increase its transit modal share from the current 2% to 11% by 2030. The Draft Strategic Plan does include the goal of “More Public Transportation and Modal Splits (sic)”- but it has become very clear that the City of Burlington has no intention of meeting this requirement.
Healthier Environment: The transportation sector is ignored in the discussion of energy conservation initiatives. Motor vehicles are a major source of GHG’s and air pollution. The reduction of single occupant motor vehicle trips through more transit, walking and cycling should be included.
Mobility Hubs: So far, the city has not identified any mobility hubs north of the QEW. There should be a mobility hub planned for north Burlington to connect 407 GO, Dundas St. Bus Rapid Transit, and BT’s northern bus routes.
Doug Brown for BFAST