Sometimes when I’m in a car stuck in traffic, I often think of how bad the traffic jams are in Los Angeles and I’m glad that I don’t have to put up with them. On visits to New York City, I wonder at how terrible it must be to get caught in their rush hours, with only so many ways to get on and off Manhattan.
So learning that Toronto’s commute times had grown worse than those in both New York and Los Angeles was a shock to my T.O. pride (our commute times are also worse than London, Chicago and – arrggghhh – Montréal.)
That pride took another hit when I read that Torontonians are less active than other Canadians. A study shows that 57% of us over 12 years old are inactive during our leisure time (is blogging leisure time?) And it looks like we’re getting more inactive, with an increase of six percentage points in the last 4 years.
According to the report, the most frequently cited barrier to activity is: lack of time.
So we have one of the longest commutes in the world, and we are the most inactive people in Canada (which means we’re in worse shape than people in – arrrggghhhh – Montréal.)
We spend more time in our cars and we have less time for physical activity.
Hold the phone! What if we reduced our commuting time? Then we’d have more time for physical activity! Wow.
If we had the $4 Billion for transit infrastructure that the provincial government has withheld, and met the 10-year-old goals of the Bike Plan, maybe we will start to get people out of their cars and onto public transit, their bicycles and other modes of transpo. New York City proved that if you build better bike lanes, they will be used.
Simply using public transit increases our activity exponentially – from walking five seconds to our car to walking five minutes to the bus.
Then we will have fewer cars on the road, which means buses, street cars and bikes will move faster, further reducing commute times and more people will be encouraged to use them and … OMG! It’s an enviable upward spiral of faster commute times and improved physical fitness.
Hmmm, all we need to start is $4 billion that is already earmarked and to meet the 10 year old goals of the Bike Plan.
Oddly, despite the profound benefits of these initiatives, a lack of courage and leadership stifles them.
Fortunately, there are positive signs, like the approval (so far) of a Public Bicycle system for T.O..
Now we’ve almost caught up to – arrrgggghhhh – Montréal.
Posted: April 28th, 2010
Author: Stephen Da Cambra
Filed under: Uncategorized
Tags: bicycles, bike lanes, public transit | 8 Comments »