I fully support the SW BRT. The SW has been underserved by transit and it’s desperately needed, especially for the students at MRU. I am fully in support of investments in public transit and my commitment is even in my platform. I believe that public transit is a cornerstone of a city our kids can be proud of.
But here’s the thing, today, my name appeared next to a big red X claiming I would not support the SW BRT as approved. Here’s my full answer to that question, as asked by Calgarians for BRT:
I want to be completely transparent with you. I have gone on the record of having said that I would consider changing then continuing. To clarify, the only element of the design that I could reconsider is at 90th Avenue. The evidence I want to review is related to the traffic modeling for 14th Street following the construction of the South West Ring Road and the Green Line. If modeling predicts an observable reduction in volumes, would the 90th Ave underpass still be required?
If traffic volume remains the same or higher, then the project should advance as approved. This is a small condition relative to the project as a whole. I am supportive of the route, the evidence and the engagement that warrants the construction of the project, but there is no harm in pausing for a brief period to be sure that the facts on the project, process and decision-making are easily accessible and transparent.
The big red X and the big green check mark kind of sum up this debate: we are either for or against. I’ve been in several forums now and I can tell you that most of the Ward 11 candidates have positions that are far more nuanced than that.
The SW BRT has become so divisive and it points to the flaws in the consultation around the project, not the project itself. When citizens feel reluctant to provide feedback, when city staff are concerned for their safety, when we stop having constructive conversation, it’s time to take a step back to examine how we can do better.
It’s time to stop talking yes or no and start talking how and when. Let’s see what happens when we change the conversation. Let’s see what we can accomplish with thoughtful debate. Let’s see what’s possible, Ward 11.