Many people I know who love the idea seem to follow this line by John Shortreed who suggests, "LRT in the last 20 years has become a fashion statement." They think most people don't flock to buses because of a stigma, because they're yucky. But they will suddenly ditch their cars for shiny new LRT. I'm not convinced this attitude represents the majority of Waterloo Region citizens. Well, mainly because I take the bus from time to time, and that attitude sort of implies that it's kind of a loser thing to do to sink so low as to take a bus. Funny, I don't feel like a loser taking the bus. And other people on the bus don't seem so bad either. And that's a pretty costly trend we're jumping on.
Shortreed's concern with LRT is that there's just not enough downtown employment to justify the LRT. That's been my point all along. Who's going to drive from Beechwood to the LRT station, take the transit to the other end (North-South only) of town, then need a cab or bus to get to work from the station there. People in this city don't primarily live and work in the core, and there isn't room at the core to re-build enough to entirely change that fact. Some people are concerned that this city will be huge soon, and how will we move all those people. But most of those people will still be too far from the core to make LRT their primary transportation. It's a wide city that needs an interconnected series of buses that all run smoothly together. We need to raise the status of buses, make them work better, not write them off.
Unfortunately, I don't think decreasing car use is the actual goal however. There was an article in yesterday's Record that suggests the whole point of the LRT has little to do with moving people; it's all about attracting more people, to "build an urban form." We all want growth, right? But we can't keep growing linearly in a finite system with limits to our resources - no matter how many jobs will be created, it's not a system that can keep working. We need to give up the growth model we've all been enamoured with for the past few centuries and develop a usable sustainable model that keeps population stable instead of ever-increasing, and allows for good living conditions for all instead of always hoping for new and better stuff.
End of rant.