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Rally for Rails from my perspective


I thought the Rally for Rails was a great success! Thank you to everyone who came out. We delivered an important message in support of sustainable growth. Let’s work together to ensure as many people as possible in Waterloo Region understand the role of light rail trains (LRT) in a better future.

Take a look at these photos to get a sense of the rally.

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There were many good speeches. I liked how our politicians were able to show how the decision on rapid transit is connected to the big picture and other initiatives such as the coming of GO trains and plans for a central transit hub. They also made the point that road building such as the widening of Weber Street is also an expensive option. Taken together, I believe the speakers and the supportive, engaged crowd made an important statement.

Here is a video clip of my speech.

What was your perspective?

If you were at the rally, please share some of your thoughts here. What points did the speakers make that you think are important to share with others in Waterloo Region?

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2 comments on “Rally for Rails from my perspective

  1. Despite the bitter cold, I attended the rally. I was inspired to by my own desire, but motivated even further by a talk put on by Jeff Casello of UW’s School of Planning (the same man who has been a part of the studies of LRT in our region, and in other Canadian and American cities of much larger size).

    I will say that I was happy to see John Shortreed, also a member of UW’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, who is against LRT. Too much of late, politics at every level has been about always being right, and any appearance of listening to others, accommodating others, or compromising to the slightest degree has been tantamount to treason.

    I believe that by listening and discussing the issue with our neighbours, be it in casual conversation or by organizing actual discussions at a library or coffee shop, we can make more headway than through any rally. I was at the inaugural Waterloo City Council meeting on Monday, and while a couple councillors made allusions to it in the broadest sense, every one spoke of fiscal restraint, of low taxes. Given that my emails to my councillor have received a response that mentions that 90% of the doors knocked on, more than 4,500+ said they were concerned about cost and impact.

    Given that the Region’s own study suggests a savings of $265 million in road building with LRT in place ($40 million more in their coffers than without LRT); given that of the 500 lane-km we require in the region, LRT would eliminate 130 ($1.73 million per lane-km), but that is more of a concern than the 0.8 lane-km being built at Weber and Victoria ($65 million per lane-km, more than 37 times the cost per lane-km of LRT), I feel we have a ways to go.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts Andrew. I think the rally was important to dispel the myth that no one wants or supports LRT. I agree about the power of the type of communication you suggest. As I tried to say at the rally, we all need to do our part in trying to help everyone in the community understand why LRT is being considered. Understanding the context for making this decision is an important to understanding how light rail trains can prevent tomorrow’s problems before they occur.

      For anyone reading who isn’t familiar with Jeff Casello’s thought regarding the LRT, I have a previous post that includes a column he wrote in The Record and an interview he gave on TVO’s The Agenda.

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