“the degree to which the businesses are acting against their own self-interests”

Gary Mason,  a leading journalist from Canada’s greenest and 3rd largest city,  writes today on “Bring on taxes – if they spur transit“.  He explains how higher downtown parking rates help to reduce traffic and pollution downtown, as well as provide funds for a much more efficient and comfortable  alternative, rapid transit ( “the Canada Line“). Vancouver enjoys an advantage over most, if not all, other large metropolitan areas in North America in NOT having a multi lane highway crossing through its centre and and the traffic congestion and pollution that goes with this.  Road pricing and congestion charges are the next step after rapid transit.

Key Quotes:

“Overall, the Canada Line, and improvements to bus routes, helped shave 15 minutes .. off people’s commute. The entire experience was more enjoyable, too. Now I take the Canada Line all the time.”

“the debate raging in Vancouver (and Montreal too) about a recent hike in downtown parking taxes

“The business coalition opposing the tax is cutting off its nose to spite its face..the tax is going to pay for improvements to transit so people can go downtown in greater numbers to spend money at the stores of those businesses opposing the tax”

“the degree to which the businesses are acting against their own self-interests is breathtaking”

“Soon, a debate will begin in this city and others across the country on road pricing..when a value is placed on the concrete a car drives on at certain times of day”

“It will be a form of tolling that will not apply to bridges but to all major arteries heading into the system”

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2 Responses

  1. Hi.
    I think Canada still has a long way to go concerning public traffic and recycling .
    I f you see how public transport is both cheap and fast in countries like The Netherlands and Belgium,not mentioning the way they handle polution and the way tax brakes to firms encourage them to go green.

    • Thanks for your comments. As you may know, Canada’s large, car-dependent, cold climate cities lack the tax revenue and critical population mass that European cities have to justify the multi-billion dollar costs involved (Toronto at $4.5 B, Ottawa at $2.1 B for just the first phase) to buy the kind of light rail transit that would get commuters out of their cars – along with the often (but not always) narrow vision of downtown merchants concerning parking rates which was the focus of this post. That said, the more that the cost of car commuting is defined including the impacts on health, the more acceptable will become the incentives for LRT. Vancouver is probably less sprawled than other major cities which may account for its more progressive initiatives- and province it is in (BC) also has Canada’s only carbon tax.

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