Burlington for Accessible Sustainable Transit
Burlington for Accessible Sustainable Transit

Burlington can’t give in to transit NIMBYism: opinion column in the Spec

Photo: Burlington Transit

by Jim Young
Member, BFAST Steering Committee

The following was published in the Hamilton Spectator (thespec.com) Feb. 15.

On Feb. 16, Burlington Transit will conduct a public meeting to receive resident input on complaints about its Aldershot/Central/Appleby bus route #4. The service connects the west end of the city to the east end via; La Salle Park Marina, Joseph Brant Hospital, Burlington Art Gallery, Joseph Brant Museum, Burlington Performing Arts Centre, Spencer Smith Park, The Pier, City Hall then to Central Library and Burlington Seniors Centre on its way to Appleby GO. A single journey bus route that links Aldershot residents, seniors and students in the west to all the city’s amenities, attractions and essential services. A transit planning gem that bigger cities would gladly emulate, also providing the only single journey bus route bringing east Aldershot residents to La Salle Park Marina, an amenity the city has invested heavily in recently, to encourage its wider use. The current routing, four years in effect, eliminated a dangerous turnaround at La Salle Park Towers.

The route serves 114 apartment condominiums at Aldershot GO, 62 street level condominiums along Plains Rd, close to 1,000 apartment dwellers at Plains Rd., Daryl Dr. and Fairwood Place 240 condominiums on the corner of Daryl and Plains, the Wellington Square townhouses on Plains at Daryl and 100 residents at La Salle Park Tower, some 2,500 to 3,000 families served by the #4 route in the study area. Some 350 residents at four long-term care facilities, CAMA Woodlands, La Salle Park, Hampton Terrace and Oaklands Park Avenue, their families, PSWs and LTC staff rely on the #4 for work, visits and outings. Five hundred students at Aldershot High School, their parents, teachers and staff rely on the service from the Warwick Ct and Surrey Lane along Townsend Ave.

Aldershot residents ask: “Why would Burlington Transit consider changes to such a vital transit link?” It appears that a handful of residents along Northshore Blvd, home to Burlington Golf and Country Club and a private roadbed townhouse complex on Fairwood Place, most of whom have never actually needed or used a bus, believe their sense of privilege should deprive Aldershot High School next door and the 1,000 Drewlo Apartments directly across the road from them, of an essential bus service. In protecting that privilege, they disingenuously cite, noise, road safety and diesel fumes. Objections which are easily refuted.

Noise: Is the noise of a half hourly bus more harmful than the noise of the summer lawn mowers, leaf blowers or winter snowblowers employed along these roads by the landscaping contractors, often by those same complainants? Gas-powered tools, so dangerous to human hearing that ear protection is mandated in their use? No authority mandates such safety measures for a bus going by.

Road Safety: Does a half hourly bus, driven by a professionally trained and regularly tested driver, present more of a danger on local streets than the on-street parked, road blocking trucks employed by the many landscaping companies plying Northshore Blvd and Fairwood Place? Are their operators qualified and tested to the same degree as Burlington Transit drivers?

The gasoline fumes from these activities over prolonged work periods in a day, are surely more harmful to the environment and personal health as a half hourly bus.

Burlington for Accessible, Sustainable Transit remains optimistic that a city committed to improving public transit to meet its growth, intensification and environmental goals, while encouraging business, commerce and recreation in that Plains Rd.-Waterdown Rd.-Lasalle and Fairwood block and throughout Aldershot, will not allow a handful of entitled residents to deny affordable and essential transit to thousands of residents, seniors, students, workers and their employers and derail a well planned transit grid, implemented only four years ago after months of public consultation during which the complainants chose not to participate.

We welcome your comments; you can submit one below. After this article’s appearance in the Spectator, a reader contacted us via this website with the following comment:

“Two thumbs up for Jim Young’s op-ed in today’s Spectator! NIMBYism needs to be called out and its selfish and entitled adherents exposed for all to see. There’s something called The Public Good that is in short supply these days. Everyone – rich, poor and in-between – benefits from public services that support the greater good of the community. Canada is a democracy, not an oligarchy. If rich people don’t want a bus route running through their posh neighbourhood, they should move to a true oligarchy like Russia or go whistle.”

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