Stop! Try Again!

Steve found this letter to the editor about the upcoming relocation of buses out of the downtown square, and I’ve been meaning to tear it apart. I guess today’s the day.

In case the link fails, Here’s its contents.

Moving bus depot will kill downtown

Relocating the city buses away from the downtown square and moving them Carden Street as the depot spot is the dumbest idea the city has every come up with.

They fought Wal-Mart coming to Guelph for 10 years saying it would destroy downtown Guelph. Well, it did not -but when the buses are moved out of the square that will kill the downtown stores. Seniors and disabled people who take the bus are not going to try to walk to downtown, so if the downtown dies it will be the City of Guelph to blame, and the members of council who voted for it.

Lorraine Pinder


Let’s break that down, point by point. First, what’s with the mistakes in the first sentence and them not getting fixed? Did she actually write that, or did the editors muff up while trying to edit her letter for clarity and brevity?

Now, as for moving them to a terminal being the dumbest idea the city has ever come up with? I don’t think so. I can think of dumber ones, like, oh, say, shutting down buses on Sundays and holidays while saying they want to push the bus as an alternative to having a car. That’s pretty dumb. On the other hand, moving buses away from the intersection of two major streets, an intersection that gets disrupted by construction, festivals and parades, into a stable terminal? I tend to think that’s pretty smart.

When the buses are moved out of downtown, it will kill the stores, you say? I might agree with you…if the buses weren’t being moved maybe 3 blocks. Seriously. If you do a Google Map for St. George’s Square and then a Google Map for the Via station, which is essentially where the new terminal will be, you will see just how ridiculously short that distance is. You will also see that the new terminal would not be far from City Hall, whose distance from the square seems to have posed no problem to seniors and folks with disabilities.

And if this distance is so difficult for seniors and folks with disabilities, how did they get to the bus stop in the first place? I mean, not everybody has a bus stop in front of their door. They would have to have walked to the bus stop. Then, to navigate downtown, they would have to walk around it, arguably for longer distances than they would have to walk to the new terminal. If someone finds that distance too far to walk, they’re probably not using the conventional bus. They are using the Mobility service, which will still be as available as it ever was.

This woman forgets that the move to a terminal will actually help some of these people with disabilities she appears to be advocating for. They will not have to sprint across two streets to try and catch a bus. The buses will be in bays along a platform, and their positions won’t change nearly as much as they do now. When festivals and parades come to town, the entire bus system won’t be rerouted to places you wouldn’t even think to look for it. No matter what happens to downtown, the bus service will be more stable.

Some people. They just don’t think things through.

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