Open letter to Burlington City Council

Here is the open letter I sent to Burlington council,

Staff have recently announced a new schedule for passing the revamped “Official Plan.” The staff proposed timing is completely unacceptable.

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Halton Tech Strategy

Tech sector is about attracting people. These people are likely to be young and oddly they tend to not to like driving. Attracting them requires a complete eco-system. Companies are going to “import” workers for us into the region if we can figure out how to provide a complete system. Nice places to live, work, opportunity for restaurants and entertainment, nice parks and easy travel.

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How Intensification Will Destroy Where you Live.

1) Large scale apartment buildings will come to your area. Apartment blocks will replace the parking and flexible commercial space with low quality parking and near useless commercial space. Local roads were never designed to accommodate buildings of this type. The city will fail to expand the road system.

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Flooding and "Backflow preventers"

On August 4th 7.5 inches of rain fell over 8 hours damaging 3,000 plus homes and flooding many with storm water and sewage discharge. This should serve as a massive wake up call for us all. Experts have been reporting the likelihood of increased weather of this type for some time. Due to the unprecedented amount of rain, some damage was probably inevitable, but several issues spread the damage to houses that might have been spared. Conservation Halton gave Burlington an F grade for a large percentage of ground covered by pavement. One of the effects that this produces is increased flooding. This extra water was channeled into an outdated sewer system which magnified the problem. What we can not do is leave thousands of residents in fear that a repeat will disrupt their lives again.

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The theory of "Induced Demand"

The theory of “induced demand” goes like this: When you build a road people like it; they then use that road to do things like go for dinner, go the the gym, visit their family, etc. You have "induced demand" to use the road. If you then reduce the capacity of that road, initially a massive traffic jam is formed. People quickly learn that the road is basically impassable at certain times and decide not to take trips. The traffic then “disappears” and city planners rejoice.

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Intensification: The Nightmare Machine

Intensification is a mandate created by the Ontario government that requires hundreds of thousands of new residents to be placed in Halton without expanding to additional land. This is potentially a positive idea, as increasing population density could bring new amenities to our communities. However, poorly implemented intensification is a potential nightmare machine transforming our communities on mass into congestion choked slums.

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About bike lanes.

There was a lot of interesting talk about bike lanes at the recent meeting in Burlington. 

I've spent some time on this issue in the past, and the format I favour is a 10 foot wide lane with a 5 foot lane each way with a blue stripe in the middle separated from the street.

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