Comment 108636

By MissingPartOfTheStory (registered) | Posted January 31, 2015 at 12:25:55 in reply to Comment 108633

I agree, we want suburbs that embrace transit and take transit to work downtown.

Here's the kicker though. If you want to convince mountain, Ancaster, Stoney Creek, Dundas and Waterdown residents to support policies like the LRT, you can't just talk about downtown, downtown, downtown. You need to pitch the savings and capacity building benefits of the LRT as a way to strengthen the transit system as a whole. If it were more viable to commute from the Meadowlands to downtown, or even from the mountain to downtown via the HSR, then suburban voters could save massive dollars by ditching a car altogether. And by viability I mean service hours, bus frequency, and cost relative to driving (parking, gas, etc.).

It also means allowing for more suburban population growth, without insulting all of it as being sprawl. Every person living in the suburbs is another person who can commute to downtown, shop downtown, etc. And there's a time in people's lives when they want a big house because they've got 2-3 kids.

You've already won the downtown support with your agenda. There is no sense preaching to the converted over and over and over again, dropping the same buzzwords and making the exact same arguments. They've done you nothing to win over the suburbs. People in the suburbs don't sit around talking about the evils of downtown, and yet entire channels (RTH, Facebook groups, Twitterverse, etc.) are filled with angry language that subrbanites are only going to interpret as hostile. And then the suburbs are accused of having some sort of agenda against downtown. It boggles the mind, it's why guys like Brian McHattie don't get elected, and it's how guys like Rob Ford get elected.

What you guys need to do now is talk about how the cost savings of the LRT will enable vast improvements to suburban transit, both for the benefit of downtown and the city as a whole. There's nothing that could further your cause better than dropping the daily vitriol against the suburbs, almost concerning in its negativity and obsession, and exchanging it for a more cohesive view of the city and transit policies.

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