IMPROVING PUBLIC TRANSPORT SYSTEM GC’S FIRST PRIORITY
I DON’T always agree with the Mayor, but when I do … it’s because he’s right.
And when it comes to extension of the light rail and the proposed ferry system, he’s spot on.
I’m all for trees and greenery but any opposition to this development is ridiculous. Public transportation is better for the environment because of fewer cars. Duh.
As for arguments from Burleigh MP Michael Hart that new data – which shows nine in every 10 Gold Coasters want the trams to run to the airport through Palm Beach – is a farce is … farcical.
Great cities need great public transportation systems. Think New York, London and Tokyo. But great green attractions need them even more. And the Gold Coast is a little bit of both – fabulous city and gorgeous green getaway.
As I write this, I’m lodged in pristine Yosemite National Park, high in California’s snowy Sierra mountains. The best and often the only way to get around here is via bus. The roads are closed to private cars because of the damage that individual vehicles cause to the environment.
Every major US national park is the same – public transportation all the way.
The Gold Coast right now is like a California gold rush town of the 1800s. It’s a little wild, the population is booming and there’s treasure to be found.
We are poised for greatness, but we have to risk a little hardship to seize it.
Our health and education precincts are world class but our roads are third rate. The traffic between Mermaid and Southport may not look as impressive as 16-lane highway gridlock in LA, but it’s every bit as slow.
The Coast has grown too fast for its infrastructure to keep up. Bigger and better roads would be great, but effective public transportation systems would be better.
Yes, it requires some pain while we construct it but if we build it, they will come.
A study by the American Public Transportation Association has shown that smart, targeted investment of $1 billion a year on US public transport over a 20-year period could yield on average $3.7 billion a year of added growth.
The same study also outlined the tendency for public transportation connectivity to stimulate local economies and businesses, often indirectly leading to job creation.
What this all adds up to is that in our case, we are becoming the city that people don’t just move to, but stay in. And that includes our kids. Imagine a future where they no longer had to move away to find employment?
Between health and education opportunities, as well as the evergreen charm of our tourism industry, there is every reason for the next generation to set their roots.
Even if the prospect of our children’s permanent residence doesn’t appeal, the fact that they can catch a train or ferry into town for future over-18 entertainment is reward enough.
We just need the X factor of public transportation.
With that magic ingredient we are no longer a gold rush city in danger of becoming a ghost town, but a city that has hit both bedrock and paydirt.