Get serious about traffic congestion

Unfortunately, Ms. Parks just got edged out of council in the last election by a few hundred votes.

“The idea of a (carpool) registry is being used in communities across Canada and the U.S., with some success. It makes a great deal of sense to at least explore this as an option for our city.” — Gail Parks

Unfortunately, Ms. Parks just got edged out of council in the last election by a few hundred votes.

But three of our current councillors also wrote into the library’s election forum to voice support for the concept. In fact, Dianne Wyntjes was prescient enough to voice support for it in her campaign brochure.

Carpooling will initially have a tough slog in a place like Red Deer, but Chris Stephan (one of our new councillors) picked up on an important point.

He noted that if a car pool system comes about, it would first be utilized by inter-municipal commuters.

For example, in 2008, Pete (one of my summer students) was commuting every day from Rocky Mountain House.

The summer of 2008, you might remember, was when gasoline touched $1.35 a litre.

Now, $1.35 a litre barely registered on my radar, since my car gets 35 m.p.g. in town and my commute is only about 10 minutes.

But Pete really felt it in the wallet, so it wasn’t long before he found someone to commute with (as well as a vehicle that was a bit thriftier than his pick-up truck).

So it would make sense that when we finally decide to get serious about traffic congestion, we will do it in concert with municipalities like Ponoka, Innisfail, and Sylvan Lake.

And it would make sense to get it started now, rather than wait for gas to get to $1.35 again. That way, commuters would know ahead of time that such a resource exists.

Now, $1.35 might seem to be a fairly high price to pay for a litre of liquid energy.

But at some point, we will look back longingly to the summer of 2008, since it’s only a matter of time that we will be looking at much higher prices than that.

Consider that as I write this, oil costs more than $80 a barrel.

We might be able to live with that, but it’s also the case that most of the major oil-consuming economies are still operating at well below their previous pre-recessionary levels.

So every inch that they pull themselves out of recession simply brings more demand for oil.

And some of those economies are going at full throttle.

In India, for example, 200,000 new cars were sold just in the month of August. Compare that to 135,000 sold in Canada and remember that only about one per cent of Indians even drive. So countries like India and China have a lot of slack to take up and a lot of gas tanks to fill.

Trying to forecast what gas prices will be in Red Deer in five years time would be an exercise in futility.

But we know that all of the new sources of crude oil are going to be expensive: mining tar in Alberta, ultra-deep ocean drilling off the coast of Brazil, dodging ice-bergs in the Arctic, and dodging terrorists in Iraq.

So it only makes sense to get something off the ground that is cheap.

And an online carpool registry will be several magnitudes cheaper than the simply putting down more asphalt and concrete to facilitate our addiction to more and more (and bigger and bigger) single occupant vehicles.

Taxpayers love to complain. Here’s something that could very easily save some very big bucks. And people like Pete might have an easier time getting to work.

Evan Bedford is a local environmentalist. Direct comments, questions and suggestions to wyddfa23@telus.net. Visit the Energy and Ecology website at www.evanbedford.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Red Deer clinical research centre participating in plant-based COVID-19 vaccine trial

A Red Deer research centre has been selected to participate in the… Continue reading

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Red Deer jumps to 449 active COVID-19 cases on Sunday

1,516 new cases identified in Alberta

The QEII was closed Sunday morning due to a pole fire. (Photo courtesy City of Red Deer)
UPDATE: QEII near Red Deer reopens

The QEII has been reopened after being closed due to a pole… Continue reading

Innisfail RCMP are investigating a single-vehicle crash that happened west of Bowden on March 21, 2021. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Bashaw RCMP investigate fatal collision in central Alberta

Bashaw RCMP are investigating after a fatal collision Saturday afternoon. Police were… Continue reading

A damaged unicorn statue is shown in a field outside of Delia, Alta. in this undated handout photo. It's not often police can report that a unicorn has been found, but it was the truth Saturday when RCMP said a stolen, stainless-steel statue of the mythical beast had been located in a field not far from where he'd been taken. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Mounties get their unicorn; stolen statue of mythical beast found in Alberta field

DELIA, Alta. — It’s not often police can report that a unicorn… Continue reading

Investigators from the Vancouver Police Department were in Chilliwack Saturday, collecting evidence connected to a double homicide. (file photo)
Police investigate shooting death of man outside downtown Vancouver restaurant

Vancouver police say one man was killed in what they believe was… Continue reading

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start registering people 18 years and older for COVID-19 vaccines

VICTORIA — The British Columbia government says it’s inviting people 18 years… Continue reading

San Jose's Tomas Hertl, center, celebrates with teammates Patrick Marleau, left, and Rudolfs Blacers, right, after Hertl scored a goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Minnesota Wild, Friday, April 16, 2021, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)
Patrick Marleau set to break Gordie Howe’s games record

For Patrick Marleau, the best part about Monday night when he is… Continue reading

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Half of U.S. adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot

WASHINGTON — Half of all adults in the U.S. have received at… Continue reading

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Federal government to send health-care workers to Ontario, Trudeau says

MONTREAL — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says federal departments and some Canadian… Continue reading

People cross a busy street in the shopping district of Flushing on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, in the Queens borough of New York. Access to the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is growing by the day. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kathy Willens
Despite COVID-19 vaccines, Americans in D.C. not feeling celebratory — or charitable

WASHINGTON — This might make Canadians jealous of their American cousins for… Continue reading

A man pays his respects at a roadside memorial in Portapique, N.S. on Thursday, April 23, 2021. RCMP say at least 22 people are dead after a man who at one point wore a police uniform and drove a mock-up cruiser, went on a murder rampage in Portapique and several other Nova Scotia communities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Memorial service in Nova Scotia marks one year since mass shooting started

TRURO, N.S. — A memorial service is planned for today in central… Continue reading

In this April 23, 2016, photo, David Goethel sorts cod and haddock while fishing off the coast of New Hampshire. To Goethel, cod represents his identity, his ticket to middle class life, and his link to one the country's most historic industries, a fisherman who has caught New England's most recognized fish for more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
‘It’s more than just a fish:’ Scientists worry cod will never come back in N.L.

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — The latest assessment of Atlantic cod stocks, whose… Continue reading

Most Read