Transit

Cochrane’s Sacred Cows

Warning: This post is longer than most and contains a lot of words.

Well, we’re heading into the homestretch of the “silly season” in municipal politics, that time when the papers and facebook feeds are full of familiar promises. More amenities! Lower taxes! Small town feel! Transit! To name just a few.

So here’s my 2 cents on some of the “sacred cows” of the current municipal election, in no particular order of importance.

Aquatic Center and Curling Rink: Possibly one of the largest municipal projects ever attempted in this town, the 54 million dollar curling rink, aquatic center and associated upgrades is dominating the discussion. There seems to be general consensus that we NEED a pool, except for a few voices suggesting we show some restraint in times of economic uncertainty. Having just gone to the current pool this afternoon with my 2-year old I’m even more uncertain of this pressing need. 2$ Friday and the pool was WELL BELOW capacity. Like, we were the only ones in the hot tub for awhile.

Taxes: What would a municipal election be without promises to keep your taxes low? And would anyone be voted in on a “I’m going to raise your taxes” platform? Even though that’s pretty much an inevitable outcome? For once it’d be nice to see some honesty in a potential politician, something along the lines of “You say you want a bunch of shiny new amenities (aka a pool), but you don’t want your taxes to go up? Well, here’s your cake…feel free to eat it.”

Density: Not quite as prevalent in the conversation as the first two topics, but density is certainly flaring up in Airdrie, along with the connection to the Calgary Regional Partnership and the Calgary Metro Plan. It’s another sacred cow that needs to be examined closely. I would be highly questioning of anyone who suggests we can continue to build a bunch of single family homes with big lots and keep our taxes low. There are so many issues tied up in density targets that it’s tough to draw all the connecting dots for folks, but here’s a few;

  1. Density is more efficient. Less road, less sidewalk, less utility, less driving for the garbage truck. Theoretically less money required to service less infrastructure.
  2. Increasing density drives up the value of single family homes with big lots. Not a bad thing if you happen to be among the lucky folks who enjoy that luxury. Why pay a premium for a house with a big lot in Glenbow, when you can pay significantly less for a big house in Sunset, Fireside, Riversong, Heritage Hills, Heartland…etc.
  3. Dense developments are more affordable for young people. You know, the kinds of people that we might want to work in this town and have a family, and the ones who can’t afford those big houses right now.  They’re also the kinds of people that are going to work in those businesses that lease the 30,000sq ft in the new aquatic center…unlike the folks living in those big houses that have to drive to their job in the city to afford their mortgage in the small town!

Traffic: Ahhh…if only there was a system for moving large amounts of people quickly and efficiently on a network of roads and railways…wait….

Traffic is certainly an issue, and no, transit won’t fix it (but it certainly won’t hurt it). I’m sure there are people much smarter than I currently scratching their heads on what the hell to do about traffic in this town. Between terrible highway intersections, a railway that cuts through town, and a bunch of in/out access to large subdivisions…we’re pretty much screwed on the traffic front for the foreseeable future. Which is why I live in Glenbow, so that I can walk places. A good start would be some traffic circles…seriously. I spent a few months in New Zealand a few years ago and there were traffic circles everywhere. Way better for traffic flow than 4 way stops and signals.

Small town feel: That elusive, yet essential, quality that attracted so many of us to move to Cochrane in the first place. This might come as shocking news, but a small town feel is just that. A feeling. Whether you’re riding a bus, living in a new subdivision, swimming at a new pool or shopping for cheap plastic at Walmart, the only way to keep that “small town feel” alive and well is to act it out. Shop locally. Get to know your neighbors. Join (or start) a community association. Come out to the farmer’s market. Volunteer with a nonprofit. No town council or mayor has the power to turn you into a small town person, or to help a community keep that feeling. Sorry, this one’s up to you. Which, given how often politicians are able to keep their promises, is probably a good thing…

Local Economy: Again, this one’s being looked at by people much smarter and more in tune with economic development than I am. Certainly an 87% residential tax base isn’t very good, and we need to diversify our revenue streams. Here’s something to chew on… a lot of business owners were in favor of transit to and from Calgary. Why? Because there’s no labor market in Cochrane (or a very small one). Why? Because people who serve coffee and stock shelves can’t afford to live in this town. Why not? Because there’s a shortage of denser, affordable housing. Funny how all this is connected. And no, I don’t have any answers, other than people taking that small town feeling to heart and putting their money where their mouth is…shop local, preferably at small shops and at places that give back to the community.

There it is, the sacred cows as I see them. I have a feeling a few of them will be slaughtered shortly…it’ll be interesting to see which ones!

And stay tuned for some more in-depth analysis of various platforms, including my top picks for mayor and council, for whatever that’s worth to you.

The status quo

Status Quo

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to actually move systems in the direction that we want them to go. I’ve written previously about things like transit in Cochrane, so I’ll use that as an example.

First off, the diagram above shows my thinking around the “status quo”. Too often we think of it as a point in time, instead of the path through time that it really is. What we’ll have tomorrow is more of today, unless we do something different. Pretty straightforward.

I think what often stops those game-changing paradigm shifts in society is the sheer magnitude of the change, the large gap between the “status quo” and the “?” in the above diagram. But what if we didn’t have to make that huge leap tomorrow? What if instead we shifted in a smaller, more manageable way?

Take, for example, the proposed expansion of the Spray Lakes Family Leisure Centre here in Cochrane. Recently Town Council was presented with some initial reports that suggested a 54 million dollar price tag for a new pool and curling rink. I’ll save the obvious thoughts around “why we need more sheets of ice where people can chase rocks around and drink beer instead of just about any other project I can think of” for some other blog post.

Proposed rec center expansion

What caught my attention was the need to potentially construct up to one thousand more parking stalls to accomodate these new facilities. 1000 parking stalls.

Here’s a thought. Build a parkade on the Quarry (the old domtar site). Make it free parking. Charge a couple of bucks for parking at the leisure center. Run a free shuttle bus every 20 minutes back and forth from the Quarry to the leisure center.

What would that accomplish? First of all, we’d save some serious space down at the leisure center for things like grass (always nice to have) and further expansion of the facility. Second, all the merchants on the Quarry site would see a significant boost in traffic. Who wouldn’t grab a quart of milk and eggs at Sobey’s after running at the track? Or a coffee before they head down to watch the game? Third, it would be a great dip of the toe into the transit market. Try it for a year or two. Not working? Go ahead and build another thousand parking stalls.

Who knows, it might be the sort of small shift that leads to something altogether different than the “pave paradise, put up a parking lot” path we seem to be on.

Transit and Windmills and NIMBY’s (oh my!)

It’s been awhile since I weighed in on Cochrane’s controversial topics (currently transit and windmills). Let’s start with windmills.

Recently, there’s been a lot of chatter in the local papers about plans for a 5kW wind turbine that’s proposed for the Cochrane High School. For those that aren’t familiar with this school, they’ve been on the leading edge of sustainable development since 2000. A group of their students beat me out of an Alberta Emerald Award a few years ago (much deserved!). I’m not going to dive into the details of this ongoing drama, preferring instead to comment on a couple of things that come to mind.

First, there was a recent motion (by the mayor) at Town Council to develop an alternative energy framework for projects such as this. I think this is a splendid idea…so long as it’s sole focus isn’t on some minority groups definition of “unsightly”. There’s also talk of asking the high school to put their windmill project on hold until this framework is completed. I think that’s a terrible idea….unless we’re halting all development projects until the appropriate “framework” is in place. Trying to establish this framework at this time is going to encourage the NIMBY’s No Turbine’s in Town Coalition (NTTC) to direct their pent-up rage towards a document that is going to be around for a long time. The project should go in front of the Alberta Utilities Board for consideration, as the next step in due process for these students.

Diversifying our aging electricity grid with sustainable local energy production is critical.

Next up: Transit. Oh god. The issue that seemingly won’t go away, prompted in large part by one of the local papers. On page 2 of the Cochrane Eagle this week was a column with no fewer than 17 questions, disguised loosely as an editorial.

Is it a convenience for the few paid for by the many? Does it make sense for taxpayers to subsidize a bus service taking shoppers to another city?

I have a feeling those questions aren’t being asked out of curiosity.

Having followed the transit discussion for some time, it’s intriguing to me that the town is catching such flack over the issue (then again, I’m regularly intrigued by what get’s published sometimes…). Sure, they jumped out of the gate pretty hard off the bat, but since then they’ve taken feedback, slowed down the process, listened to people’s concerns and come back to the table with 3 very reasonable and affordable approaches to phasing in transit (an identified community need). What seems to be the issue at hand comes back to some very vocal people who disagree with the finding’s of a variety of robust Ipsos Reid polls and surveys, which concluded that there is general support of transit in the community.

Disagreeing with something doesn’t make it any less true….whether it’s a windmill or a bus.

Why not pay Calgary Transit to provide service in Cochrane?

I must admit, this question hadn’t actually crossed my mind until it was brought up in conversation recently. I don’t think it’s a feasible idea for a variety of reasons, but I do intend to follow up with some folks that would know the intricacies better than I.

Recent editorial cartoon in the Cochrane Eagle.

1. There’s no doubt that Calgary transit would charge more for the service. Why? Because they’re having a hard enough time providing service to a rapidly growing city, and to justify the additional complexity of getting equipment and drivers to Cochrane would necessitate charging us more than what it would cost to do ourselves (due to both economic and political reasons).

2. The politics. Calgary Transit is run by the City of Calgary. The City of Calgary is run by administrators who report to the elected City Council. City Council is elected by the citizens and taxpayers of the City of Calgary. Nowhere in that loop is there a mechanism for providing transit services to Cochrane (because we don’t pay city taxes or vote in city elections), unless we’re looking at being annexed by the city and paying into the city pot. We can’t even get a new logo approved in this town. Can you imagine the idea of being annexed by Calgary? So much for the “small town feel” that we all love…

3. The trend of de-centralization. There are certain services that do well with some central organization (something like education, which should usually be uniformly applied across the province). Things like municipal services need to be delivered at the local level. The people directly affected by services should try to retain as much control as possible on that service delivery, so that it best suits the needs of the community (and is flexible and adaptable to changing needs). Imagine if we needed to add a bus route, or change a route…easier to do from the RancheHouse or from City Hall in Calgary? Where do you have more influence?

I’m not suggesting that there isn’t some room for the integration of transit services. It would be great if holding a bus pass in Cochrane got you discounts in the city, or if you could purchase an integrated pass so that you can access the system in the city. Perhaps even the express shuttle from Cochrane to Calgary could be a joint project with Calgary Transit. What I am suggesting is that the notion of Calgary Transit providing local service in Cochrane has about the same likelihood of coming about as, say, the Man of Vision logo being reworked (and not causing a 6-month uproar in the media).

I’ll report back with any information I dig up from people that know significantly more about transit in the YYC area than myself. Stay tuned.

What if no one rode the bus?

Happy Wednesday everyone! I thought I’d try and get a jump on the weekly gossip rag and provide a quick breakdown of what the real operating costs of Transit in Cochrane would be. This data was taken from the town of Cochrane webpage.

First, let’s assume that there is NO ONE RIDING the bus for the first year. I know, a strange assumption (but a worst case scenario). This would mean the full cost of 1.1 million dollars is shouldered by citizens through their taxes. How much is that per person?

$0.17 per day. You heard it right. 17 cents per day, per person. (1.1 million divided by 17500 (pop) divided by 365). To provide you with some context, that’s 170mL of gasoline (or less than a cup). Let’s break this down in a monthly context.

For just over 5$/month (10$/month for my wife and I), we could have 7 hours of intra-Cochrane shuttle service, and peak rush hour trips back and forth to the Crowfoot LRT. And this is assuming NO ONE RIDES THE BUS. What if, as predicted (and as indicated by other municipalities), we’re able to recuperate some of the costs through fares. The average fare returns is something like 39% of operating costs. Let’s go with less, say 24% (or 845K/year instead of 1.1 million). It would then cost the average Cochranite $0.13/day!

Do some math on owning that 2nd car (or 3rd or 4th if you have teenagers!). I did. It’s not pretty. 1 tank of gas every month, just for puttering around town and going to Crowfoot costs 60$ (or a year’s worth of Transit service). Add insurance. Add registration. Add maintenance. Add depreciation. Over the past 6 years, we’ve spent an average of 600$/month to own and operate a second vehicle (buying new in 2005).

So, the amount that I currently spend on a second vehicle every month could cover my portion of public transit in Cochrane for 10 years. Seriously.

Transit in Cochrane. Part 1 (of many).

Whoa boy….where to start with this week’s gossip columns. Should I point out the blatant misinformation (since when is transit costing ‘millions’)? Or the obvious irrelevancies and poor lines of argumentation? How about I just give you my thoughts, straight up.

I find the irony in the statement “nobody is against transit, but let’s be reasonable” quite funny. First of all, Mary Lou Davis has written many columns in the Eagle (Jack’s own newspaper), trying to discredit transit. Heck, she started a “Stop the Bus” campaign, had T-shirt’s printed and started an anti-transit petition. All of this based on a proposed transit plan, prior to a public consultation process. Sounds like somebody is against transit. Just saying. She went as far as wanting to “kill transit“.

How about throwing the ol’ woman’s shelter idea into the conversation? Oh yeah, and let’s bring up the Humane Society funding, along with the fact that the town is buying advertising from the competing paper. Those types of arguments are called “red herrings”.  Lets get everyone emotionally charged about topics unrelated to the transit discussion, using our leverage as the editor of one of the local papers to have another weekly rant. Enough.

Serious about the woman’s shelter Jack? Let’s make it happen. I’m with you.  And I know a bunch of people that will get on board. Serious about transparency? Let’s start with the Eagle and you using your editorial, not as a place to rant every week, but as a force for positivity and what is good in this community. Serious about me taking you seriously for a change? Stop asking rhetorical questions in your editorial that lead people to believe something that isn’t grounded in reality.

And for all you Cochrane businesses out there, this is a very important point. I DO NOT read the papers. Which means I don’t see your advertising. Which means I don’t shop at your store. Sorry. Check out my post “Worried about Walmart?” for some ideas on how to connect with me (and all the other people like me). Or post a comment below and we can chat about engaging me in a post “weekly paper world”.

Socialist ‘ideas about fairness’…

So…I’m digging back a little bit (all the way to mid-December) for this blog post, but I figured that it was such a great train-wreck that it was worth reposting. I’ve taken the liberty of changing the other person’s name to “other guy”, and deleting his picture. Although he did post on a public forum (Cochrane Transit), so I assume he’s OK with his thoughts being a matter of public record on the internet.

Premier Stelmach announcing "Green Trip" funding for Cochrane

What’s most interesting about this exchange (in my mind), is the kind of arguments being tossed around. Lot’s of “ad hominem” (personal attacks) and “red herrings” (unrelated but emotional). See if you can spot them. And FYI, this is a bit of a read, but highly entertaining (I think, anyway). It’s a thread from
the afore-mentioned Cochrane Transit Facebook Page.
  • Cochrane Transit Cochrane’s population is currently estimated to be around 18,500. The Canadian Urban Transportation Association’s Public Transportation Fact Book from 2009 shows an average cost recovery of 39% for populations less than 150,000. Being town-sized, therefore, is not a deterrent to having a public transit system. Banff (popn 8,244), for example, is a very small town, albeit with a huge tourist demographic, which supports a local public transit system.
  • December 15, 2011 at 3:55pm · Like
  • Other guy: Cost recovery of 39% means that I have to pay the other 61% that I am not willing to do! Find an example where transit actually makes money and is not a burden to the tax payers!
  • December 15, 2011 at 4:33pm · Like
  • Cochrane Transit Hi (other guy), as always your comments are most appreciated. In the case of public transit, as with all public services, there is no such thing as 100% cost recovery. Even a system as successful as London Transit UK is heavily subsidized by taxpayers. It’s important, therefore, to look beyond actual cost recovery as the incidental economic benefits of transit.
  • December 15, 2011 at 4:48pm · Like
  • Other guy: I struggle to look beyond my tax bill every month. I don’t understand how this expense will benefit vey many folks here in Cochrane. I struggle to understand why I should have to pay for a service that only a few will benefit from. I struggle to understand who would move to Cochrane knowing fully well that they would have to drive to Calgary if they wanted to go to Calgary! I knew that I would have to drive when I purchased a home here and also knew that my children would have to drive to Calgary for work or university. This idea of public transit seems like a total waste of tax payers money. Because the provincial government has granted some money for transit doesn’t mean we have to take it. If the provincial government granted us some money for an air strip, would we feel the need to build an airport in order to use the grant? Just because something is on sale, doesn’t mean we have to buy it. I am not buying that Cochrane needs public transit. IF I felt that we would be better served as a community, I MIGHT agree to help pay or it BUT I do NOT think that we would be better served at all by having public transit. I think that most Cochranites moved here knowing we don’t have public transit and for those that didn’t know; shame on them for not doing their homework!
  • December 15, 2011 at 5:17pm · Like
  • Jeff Couillard Just because Transit is something that certain individuals won’t personally use every day doesn’t mean we shouldn’t support it. I don’t use the food bank. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have one. And we may like to picture Cochrane as a little ol’ town on the prairie…but the facts are that we live in the Calgary Metropolitan Area with a population of well over a million people. How are we managing the anticipated growth in the community? What are the REAL tax implications (not the random numbers sometimes quoted in the media)? And what are the benefits of that service? Of course no one likes tax increases (I certainly don’t). I also don’t like air pollution, traffic congestion, subsidizing parking lots, and most importantly…I don’t like to see segments of society marginalized by the elite middle and upper class that can afford/choose to drive a vehicle. Great if you can afford to live wherever you want and drive a private vehicle. Many people can’t. And why is there no discussion about the taxes that THOSE people pay (the potential users of transit). Why is it OK for them to subsidize our roads, but we can’t help them with their transit?
  • December 15, 2011 at 8:48pm · Like
  • Other guy: Then you can pay Jeff if you want to but don’t ask the rest of us to pay when we don’t want to pay for something we won’t use and will only benefit a chosen few. User pay I like… I don’t use…. I don’t pay! That’s why I moved from Saskatchewan 10 years ago! I am so tired of paying for services that only service a few. Maybe after you have seen 30+ years of Property tax increases you might see it my way! … “you can’t multiply wealth by dividing it”!
  • December 15, 2011 at 9:27pm · Like
  • Jeff Couillard Well, that line of “user pay” logic works really well…when the playing field is leveled. Why should someone who’s not driving a car on the road subsidize it’s construction and maintenance? Let’s get some toll booths up, or levy a private vehicle licensing fee here in Cochrane, to pay for all the new roads, intersections and maintenance. Owning and driving a car on public land is mistakenly seen as a right, not the privilege that it is. I find it interesting that the same people who are generally anti-transit are also anti-tiered water rates (which is a great example of a progressive, economic policy to decrease water consumption…and a great user-pay model). I’m not arguing with you on the merits of a level, user-pay system. It just needs to be level. Right now there is no way for me to CHOOSE to put my taxes towards transit, in the same way people who don’t drive a car can’t CHOOSE to not subsidize roads. The best we get to do is have a robust conversation as engaged citizens, and share our opinions and concerns.
  • December 15, 2011 at 10:14pm · Like
  • Other guy: I use water… The more I use it, the more I pay…perfect! Enough said.
  • December 15, 2011 at 10:53pm · Like
  • Jeff Couillard So you agree with the idea of toll booths? The more you drive, the more you pay? ;). Of course, for the market to be fair we would need to stop subsidizing road construction and maintenance as tax payers, in order for the free market to operate unhindered. I did some quick math this morning…Over the past 6 years I’ve spent on average 660$/month for one vehicle (gas, depreciation, maintenance and insurance). That’s what I’m willing to pay for mobility. That’s the true cost (not including any tax dollars that I’ve spent that have been directed at transportation infrastructure). If we’re going to debate the costs and benefits of creating different mobility options for society, we need to use the real numbers. I’m pretty sure we can build a transit system that provides reasonable service for much less than I’m paying for my car every month.
  • December 16, 2011 at 7:50am · Like
  • Other guy: Debating is a good thing Jeff for sure. Its costs us nothing finacially speaking (no pun inteaded…lol). I do however have a cost in mind when it comes to this issue. The number everyone can agree on is that it would increase our taxes by “X”. I don’t want to pay “X”. I would appreciate it very much if you would take your hand out of my pocket. I already have enough financial obligations as I am sure most folks do. Imposing any tax increase to help pay for something you would find useful leaves me with NO CHOICE. When it comes to taxes, there is very little reall opportunity to CHOOSE but in this case, there is going to be a plebicite next spring. Thats a great opportunity for me to CHOOSE to not pay anymore taxes. If the towns folk decide that they dont want transit, you are still left with some choices like moving into Calgary where you work and have family. Perhpas you could even find a residence that’s within walking distance of the C Train so you could enjoy evening and weekend service if you fell that this kind of service is important enough for you and your family. If you were to make those decisions, they would have zero impact on my pocket book. You do as you wish, we live in a free world. If you want a “level playing field”, maybe you would share in my finacial obligations that you dont agree with??

    December 16, 2011 at 9:21am · Like
  • Jeff Couillard Believe me (other guy), I don’t want my hand in your pocket any more than you do ;). I’m not sure we’re talking about the same playing field here…I already share in your financial obligations, many of which I do disagree with (like the recently introduced crime legislation..which I don’t know your actual stance on, so my apologies if you also think it’s terrible). From your education to your health care, to military and infrastructure spending, my taxes are as heavily involved in subsidizing your well being as my own. It’s called being a part of a caring and generous society. And that’s quickly where this debate is going, not so much about transit but about deeply held values and beliefs about what’s in the best interest of the broader public, and what is going to make our community the best it can be. There’s a place where hyper-individualism has ruled for a long time. It’s called America. They’re not doing so well, on the whole.

    December 16, 2011 at 5:44pm
  • Other guy: Jeff, sorry but I disagree…the debate is about transit and the cost to my family…nothing more. Socialist ideas about fairness for all and level playing fields sound like so much Liberalism that frankly, it scares the crap out of me. I have made choices in my life…some bad…some good… regardless they have brought me to where I am today and at no time have I ever had my hand out to the government or other entity to cover for me. I believe many folks that live in Cochrane would share this experience and opinion. I draw the line when I look at our town’s ability to carry the burden of public transit. For large cities, it’s a given… we are not a large city with a large tax base. Ridership numbers are expected to very low… look back in this thread and you will see that the Town of Cochrane anticipates a 39% cost recoevery.

    December 16, 2011 at 6:09pm · Like
  • Other guy: Continued… Roads and interesections etc are enjoyed by almost everyone so we all pay a little or a lot despite what we are riding when we are on them… a bicycle, a bus or a car. Roads and related costs are irrelevant in this issue: note – buses drive on these same roads. In short Jeff, (phew) please dont ask a large majority of tax payers (who wont ride) to fork it our for a few riders. It’s not a realistic expense at this time in Cochrane’s situation and/or growth strategy. Entitlement has no place here!

    December 16, 2011 at 6:28pm · Like
  • Jeff Couillard ‎39% is a helluva lot better than the 0% we get back on healthcare and education spending (in the short term anyway. I’m not suggesting we cut that, or that those services should have cost recovery). Your assertion that you’ve never been “covered” by the government or another entity is, unfortunately, entirely false. Unless of course you never went to school, have never used a hospital, checked a book out of the library, driven on a publicly funded road, swam at a pool…whether or not you had your hand out is irrelevant. You and I both benefit from government spending every day. And the debate IS about more than busses and trains. How are we going to grow a tax base when businesses won’t locate in Cochrane because they don’t have access to a labor market? Why do you think so many businesses are on board with pursuing Transit (including the Toyota dealership?) The tax burden in this town IS terrible, we rely way too much on residential taxes (something like 82% a few years ago). I absolutely agree with you on that. How do you propose we fix it? Transit is a part of a much bigger picture that leads to a more sustainable community. If you don’t look at the big picture and see how things are interconnected you miss opportunities for making smarter decisions about growth. And brushing me off as a liberal might be convenient, the fact is that I’m a born and bred small town Albertan that dislikes paying taxes as much as the next person, but I balance that with an understanding that I do better when my neighbors are doing better, and often the hidden costs of doing nothing are far greater than it would seem.

    December 16, 2011 at 6:35pm · Like
  • Other guy: Your access to a labour market arguement is so rediculous!! Do you really think that Calgarians will come to work in Cochrane??? Really??? How absurd!!! Why dont you find a job in Cochrane so you dont have to drive or want a bus???

    December 16, 2011 at 6:42pm · Like
  • Jeff Couillard So ridiculous that I know about a dozen people that commute from both Calgary and Canmore. To work in Cochrane. Crazy I know! But maybe they’ve got spouses that work in one of those towns, or are tied to their community and happened to get a job in Cochrane. Have you driven up the big hill at around 8:30 in the morning? Noticed the huge backlog of traffic coming IN to town? How absurd indeed.

    December 16, 2011 at 6:53pm · Like
  • Other guy: The “traffic coming down the hill” Jeff, is mommies driving their babies in their suv’s and cross over’s from Bears Paw to Cochrane High when they could take the school bus!

    December 16, 2011 at 6:58pm · Like
  • Jeff Couillard That may very well be…but I happen to know that over 50% of the teachers in a local elementary school commute from Calgary. I leased a truck recently from a salesman that lived in Calgary. I have a friend that works for the town that commutes from Calgary. Your post was about how absurd the “access to labor market” argument was, my post was refuting that. The traffic on the big hill is anecdotal…I will try and stop using anecdotal evidence while debating with you, and stick to the ‘facts’ as I know them :).

    December 16, 2011 at 7:15pm · Like
  • 3rd guy: Bravo Jeff, great points, couldn’t agree with you more.
    So… I’m curious to know YOUR thoughts. Socialist ideas of fairness? Liberal crap? Or a pragmatic and rational approach to ensuring that our community has diverse options for getting around (pathway 12 in the Cochrane Sustainability Plan)? Where do you fall on the Transit spectrum?