Welcome to the launch of Shift – London’s Rapid Transit initiative. It is a discussion that will shape how London will grow over the next 20 years, and a discussion we want you to be part of.
Today we hear comments about congested roadways, both from drivers and public transit passengers. London is not only a city of trees, but also rivers and railways. Traffic on our roadway system is constrained by these crossings. Whether you are waiting at a railway crossing for the train to go by or sitting in traffic at one of the pinch points crossing the river, it is obvious that as the City grows, congestion is getting worse.
The City’s Smart Moves Transportation Plan recognized that we could not build ourselves out of congestion. While widening roadways could provide some relief, improving transportation mobility choices is the real solution. The addition of Rapid Transit, complemented by enhanced cycling and walking options that are safe, accessible, convenient and affordable, are the key to moving London forward in a sustainable transportation manner. London’s population will grow by an additional 77,000 people over the next 20 years, making the decisions of today even more important.
So why Rapid Transit? It will reshape a public transit system that today is overloaded during commute times and doesn’t reach desired services. Rapid Transit is about moving many people, at the same time and at higher speeds using vehicles such as trains or buses. It will work hand in hand with City plans to reshape London by encouraging our growing population to live in developments along transit corridors, it will allow for optimization of the existing transit system, and will provide for greater accessibility and mobility.
Shift is about changing the way we think about mobility in London. The time is now for residents to get involved and help us shape not only the future of transit, but also the city that we live in. Please join us on February 4th at our first public event at the Central Library to explore the benefits of rapid transit and help us define where Rapid Transit will go, what it will look like and how it will be implemented.
Edward Soldo, P.Eng.
Director of Roads and Transportation, City of London