Promoting public transit

The mayor finds a warm bus much more inviting than starting a cold car in sub-zero weather.

The mayor finds a warm bus much more inviting than starting a cold car in sub-zero weather.

At a City of Red Deer Transit information fair for seniors on Thursday, Mayor Morris Flewwelling, a regular city bus user, highly recommended the Red Deer’s transit system to about 40 seniors.

“It takes me the same time to drive or to go on a warm bus, so why wouldn’t I go on a warm bus, or in the summertime on a nice air-conditioned bus?” Flewwelling said at the fair held at the Golden Circle.

He said transit can make life easier by eliminating parking concerns and vehicle costs.

It also keeps people on schedule.

Last year, the city began an Integrated Movement Study and held events and gathered public input on walkability. Now the topic is transit.

Flewwelling said previously that master plans were developed separately for issues like transit, walking trails, cycling and roads.

“We decided that we kept putting the vehicular stream of traffic always ahead of pedestrians. Our movement study is to look at all the ways we move around the city.

“The philosophy we’re adopting is, yes, people will always drive cars. But we don’t have to have our city plan driven by the car. Some people have interpreted this unfortunately as anti-vehicle. That isn’t really the case. It’s just that the car has dominated our planning up until now.”

To gather transit input, city staff will survey people at Travelling Bus Stops set up at Collicutt Centre, Dawe Centre and Red Deer College on Feb. 11, 14 and 15 at peak arrival times to find out how transit could work better for them.

“There are a lot of practical reasons why people don’t use transit. We’re not expecting that all of a sudden we’re going to make everyone transit users. We just want to understand how we can increase ridership, how can we make it a practical choice for people,” said Jeremy Bouw, divisional strategist with the city’s development services working on the study.

The public presentation — Lights, Camera, Transit — will feature speaker Michael Roschlau of the Canadian Urban Transit Association talking about a vision for transit on Feb. 16 at 5 p.m. at City Centre Stage, 4922 49th St.

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