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The crossing we bear 

Dear Kyle Shaw,

I read with interest your editorial ("Crossing guard") last week. Of course, to anyone who lives or commutes to the Halifax peninsula a third bridge seems ludicrous! The peninsula roads are already saturated, so what would be the point of funnelling in even more traffic?

A few months ago, I wrote to the mayor and a couple of the peninsula councillors regarding the proposed widening of Chebucto Road. My letter read, in part:

As anyone who commutes into the peninsula knows, road capacity is already at saturation during peak traffic periods. Widening Chebucto Road, potentially encouraging more traffic, will only exacerbate the problem, not alleviate it. Progressive transport planning is needed, rather than the regressive "build more roads mentality" foisted on us in the last century by the oil and auto industries.

I would hope that all councillors are aware of the pay-as-you-enter the city toll scheme which has been running very successfully in London, England, for several years, despite the doom and gloom whining from self-interest groups when it was introduced. Halifax possesses the ideal "geography"—i.e. very few routes into the peninsula—to set-up such a system. This would be another opportunity for Halifax to be a leader in North America, as it was with its recycling system.

Of course, it would be a huge undertaking facing much opposition, but nothing compared to the complexity of the London system. The tolls collected could go directly toward improving public transit, building park-and-ride lots with continuous express buses into the downtown core, high speed ferries from Bedford and Herring Cove, etc. Provisions would need to be made for peninsula residents, deliveries, etc., but none of these problems are insurmountable and there is the London scheme as a model. 

Spending millions to widen Chebucto Road or any other tinkering with the peninsula road systems will do little to improve the "saturation" problem. Here's hoping HRM council will have the foresight to think "outside the box."

The only response I got was a outright "I do not support your proposal" from Sue Uteck. Once again, it seems that business interests will always outweigh the "pubic good."

By Peter Lewis

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Vol 25, No 42
March 15, 2018

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