The Big Move

What makes public transportation important to you? For me, it’s about accessibility to key events and services in and around the city, but for many, it’s a lot more.

Traveling in the city is still a novelty in my life, but since I’ve been at Mac without access to a vehicle, the necessity of public transit has become ever clearer. In the winter, I take advantage of the HSR to travel to and from school. I can’t stress enough how lucky I feel to be a McMaster student, having unlimited access to the HSR with a simple flash of my student card.

I used GO transit for the first time last week, and I was rather impressed. The train from Aldershot to Union Station is sleek, comfortable and efficient, and I felt pretty excited to ride on its second level. But what strikes me the most is how important this transit system is to so many people living in Hamilton or Toronto but working in the opposite. What if GO transit were to disappear? Sure, I would have to find alternative ways to make those sporadic trips to Toronto, and maybe I would be less inclined to leave the city at all. But more importantly, the lack of public transportation between the GTA and Hamilton would be debilitating to the livelihoods of the thousands of people who access the system daily. Not to mention the additional congestion that would arise on the streets and highways.

The subject of public transportation is one that comes up with any growing city, and definitely one that’s buzzed around McMaster’s campus. Two of this year’s MSU Presidential candidates had platform points specifically surrounding transit – one was proposing that students should have the option of a summer bus pass, and this year’s winner of the election wants to negotiate for a McMaster-specific shuttle bus to transport students to desirable locations in the city outside of HSR hours. The #weneedLRT campaign was spearheaded by the MSU last year as well, representing the voice of McMaster students in the community campaign to introduce Light Rail Transit (LRT) into Hamilton. Light Rail transit is effectively a sleek aboveground subway system that would take a large number of passengers across town quickly and efficiently. The project that is currently being prioritized is the construction of an LRT line that would run east along Main and west along King, from McMaster to Eastgate Mall.

If you want to take part in the conversation about transportation systems in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, there will be a public Forum on February 16 from 1 to 3 pm at Dundas Town Hall. The meeting will be hosted by Metrolinx, discussing the “The Big Move”, which is a transportation plan, intended to tackle gridlock, and improve transportation access and efficiency across the GTHA.

How will you get involved in The Big Move?