Burlington for Accessible Sustainable Transit
Burlington for Accessible Sustainable Transit

“No changes” planned for Route 4, says transit director

The Route 4 Open House sponsored by Burlington Transit attracted a good deal of interest from riders who feared a popular stop would be cut.

Burlington Transit Director Catherine Baldelli assured a group of about 25 concerned riders Feb. 16 that “no changes” were being planned for Route 4, despite the objections of two individuals to buses on their street.

The assurance came during a BT-sponsored Route 4 Open House, which was also attended by a number of online participants. Transit supporters took part to oppose proposals by a few residents to remove transit from their street.

Comments from users were overwhelmingly in favour of keeping the current route for the number 4 bus, with its west-end loop that serves two apartment buildings that house mostly seniors. Only two residents spoke against keeping the current routing.

Jim Young, an activist who encouraged users to speak against cutting the service, attended as a representative of Partnering Aldershot, a coalition that encompasses virtually every service, business and political representative in the community. He presented a motion from the association in strong support of maintaining the current Route 4 service.

Young also reminded the meeting that the redesign of Route 4 was part of a larger plan to improve Burlington Transit, and that there was extensive consultation on planning the route.

A high school student said the existing route allows him and many other students to commute to school every day. The buses are standing-room only before and after school, he said.

Two personal support workers said the current route was essential to their ability to reach certain clients with mobility issues on a street with no sidewalks.

Elderly residents emphasized how important the service was to them in allowing them to go shopping, visit family and friends, or attend medical appointments.

Several seniors from LaSalle Towers refuted an argument from one of the anti-transit people in attendance that the buses sped down the road. The seniors said they appreciated the caution shown by transit drivers.

BFAST Steering Committee Chair Doug Brown reminded those in attendance that better transit service would be a crucial part of Burlington’s response to the climate crisis. He congratulated Burlington Transit staff on their efforts to engage and inform the public.

Burlington Transit staff displayed figures showing the dramatic increase in ridership since the number 4 route was redesigned in 2019.

Baldelli said the public meeting had been scheduled as an open house before the pandemic caused its cancellation.

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