I had another letter in the Record today (a little friendly disagreement with James Bow). My letter is just a drop in the flood of anti-LRT letters to local papers this year: to see all the letters, see this. For local news stories and columns that oppose LRT, see this. Meanwhile, here's my letter:
Raised rails a problem
October 19, 2009
Re: Parade can live with light rail — Oct. 13
James Bow says that a King Street light rail transit system will not disrupt Waterloo Region’s parades. As evidence, he says that Toronto parades run under street car lines.
Toronto has street cars and it has parades, but they don’t run on the same streets. The Caribana parade is on Lakeshore Drive west of the Canadian National Exhibition, avoiding street cars. The Toronto Santa Claus parade route is Bloor to University to Queen to Yonge to Front. Except for a short jog on Queen, none of those streets have street cars.
An additional problem with the Waterloo light rail transit is that the tracks down the middle of King Street will either be raised six inches above the rest of the street or surrounded by a curb. Those raised tracks or curbs will have a huge impact on our community. They will make it impossible for Waterloo to have its busker festival or other events in the street.
Even more importantly, cars will not be allowed to cross over the raised tracks or curbs. That means that if you own a business — or drive to a business — on King Street, King will effectively be a one way street. You will not be able to turn left into or out of any driveways where the light rail transit runs. That might not be a big problem on streets such as Queen’s Boulevard that are residential, but it will be a nightmare for busy King Street businesses.
As to Bow’s request that Peter Gay debate the merits of the system in good faith, that’s exactly what the group Taxpayers for Sensible Transit (to which Gay and I both belong) is doing. We have spent a lot of time reviewing the light rail transit and have come to the informed conclusion that, as currently planned, light rail transit will cause grave problems for our community. We suggest that bus technology would be a much better option.