Mayor weighs in on possibility of dividing BRT into pieces
Daryl Newcombe, CTV London
Published Thursday, March 7, 2019 6:44PM EST
Dividing bus rapid transit into shorter segments may prove to be a political minefield at London’s city hall.
Mayor Ed Holder is reacting to a staff report suggesting the Shift BRT plan could be saved by splitting it into five independent pieces.
“I think ultimately it’s going to be an up or down question, yes, no, and if it’s no then I think that's very clear.”
Holder does not expect the BRT question to hang over the next municipal election four years from now.
But with his March 31 deadline for a transit plan fast approaching, the mayor is reacting to Wednesday's report which states, "although the project is currently being considered in its entirety, this does not preclude council's ability to consider the component transit corridors separately.”
So, five independent sections of the Shift BRT route will be included on a list of transit projects for council consideration.
But Holder emphasizes the BRT segments will be just some of the options, “Because they are on the table, it doesn't mean councillors in whole or in part are going to support any one particular project.”
Since the launch of his campaign for mayor, Holder has been careful when discussing rapid transit, but has said he did not support BRT in its current form.
As recently as six weeks ago he said, “Talk about the dedicated bus lanes, there is a lot we can do without the dedicated bus lanes.”
But it’s hard to say whether that means Holder would be backtracking on his campaign platform if he supported any of the five BRT segments.
“It was BRT or nothing and we have moved that to component parts and whatever revisions will be made of those parts. There are aspects that don't make sense to me, dedicated bus lanes, buses only, doesn't make sense to me.”
Debate about shorter BRT segments could include whether they include dedicated bus lanes, buses in mixed traffic or something else.
“I think you are going to see differences when you get to the ultimate text of what is going to be supported or not supported based on input from the community and input from councillors,” Holder says.
Next week city hall will release a list of potential transit projects that could be submitted for senior government funding and a public meeting will be held March 20 at Centennial Hall.