Election Blog – Jamie Gilcig – Mayor – Cornwall Ontario – Talking Cornwall Transit & Mobility

Election Blog – Jamie Gilcig – Mayor – Cornwall Ontario – Talking Cornwall Transit & Mobility

JG Election 300x250-02  TESTOne of the things I’ve always bragged about Cornwall is that you can drive anywhere in about ten minutes.

Really, I kid you not and we’re not a small village, but a city of nearly 50,000 people.   I know that’s changing and there are some issues now because of some poor city planning, but movement is critical to growth.

Cornwall transit does not offer Sunday service, and frankly it’s price point; while a consultant would brag that it’s competitive, isn’t something that induces ridership.

Our cost is pretty much the same whether we have a full or empty bus.

To me the purpose of having public transit is to help the wheels turn in our city.  It’s for those that don’t want or have to drive get around.  It’s for people to get to work and for people to get to where they want to go.

Right now it’s underused.   There are many reasons for that, some being that there is no Sunday service and a limited schedule.

I have championed now for several years the concept of having a pilot project of having free public transit.   Right now fares only bring in around 20% of the budget.

If we as a city could negotiate a pilot project of three years with the province and feds to offset the costs I think we’d see a dramatic rise in ridership and productivity.  I think the cost eventually from the extra subsidy would be more than offset from growth, and I think it would help retain young people and attract many to move to our city.

Cornwall has another issue in that we are essentially cut off from the rest of Canada and the world when it comes to inter-city transportation.  Via Rail has cut staff in Cornwall and the connections are few and pretty useless for commuters.

Since the city gave assistance to Delaney Buses the big bus companies abandoned Cornwall with very limited service and no bus hub in the city.

The problem with Delaney is that their service is very limited and you have to pre-book.

It may be time for Cornwall Transit or City Hall to explore options for external transit even though it’s not in their mandate.   People in Cornwall who go to school or work in outside areas need options.

And it’s not only for people to move from Cornwall to other communities, but for vice versa.   We can only grown if we attract people.  How will some come here if we don’t have realistic travel options?

For some reason the Kilger council have not made this a priority and have allowed service to dwindle in the last eight years.  Heck when the new shopping centre opened on Brookdale it was like parting the Dead Sea to get a stop moved up for employees and shoppers.

We compete with Brockville, Kingston, Ottawa, Alexandria, and the counties for new residents and business.   We need a smooth flow of people to help make that happen?

What do you think Cornwall voters.   You can email me at jamie@cornwallfreenews.com with your thoughts and please remember to vote on October 27, 2014.

And if you truly want change in Cornwall there is only one real option!

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22 Comments on "Election Blog – Jamie Gilcig – Mayor – Cornwall Ontario – Talking Cornwall Transit & Mobility"

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Marc Houde
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I dunno Jamie. I don’t see city transit as an issue that I would give any thought to so reducing the fare doesn’t affect me. You touched on commuting however and that piques my interest. Let’s be honest, there are better jobs in Ottawa and Montreal but the cost of living is much better in Cornwall and the surrounding communities. Ottawa is finally going forward with light rail. It’s going to be a few years but if Cornwall could feed into that with either more bus service or ideally commuter rail service into Ottawa, I know I’d be on board… Read more »
Hugger1
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There should be Sunday bus service in Cornwall, even if was only hourly. An idea might be to run it down Second St or Montreal Rd to / from the industrial park. Or perhaps a loop route.

It’s not easy setting up commuter routes from / to Cornwall. If I recall an application has to be made to Transport Canada. You just can’t start up a service without the proper paperwork.

Hugger1
Guest

Does it make sense for the city to get involved with commuter transportation? IMHO no it doesn’t. It seems whenever any form of government gets involved in commuter transportation it ends up costing the taxpayers money. Just ask the Nation Municipality and Casselman about their experience running TEO, commuter transportation to / from Ottawa.

jules
Guest
Hugger if people are going to live in places like Cornwall, Casselman, Embrun, etc. then they sure will pay a lot for for transportation. There was an article lately on yahoo.ca about living in Toronto and living in the suburbs and the commute where cars are tied up on highways, causing pollution and health ailments, etc. Having a commuter train might be expensive and I won’t deny that but you get to your destination. I have bookmarked a spot somewhere on my favorites where they show towns in the US where they lost their jobs and have to commute to… Read more »
jules
Guest
Jamie there was a woman once on this paper from Cornwall who spoke that she works in Long Sault and had no means of transportation and said that some jobs are located in Long Sault and other surrounding communities. I was wondering if there is a system where private individuals who would make a company and be able to bring people to their jobs out of town OR have the province to help subsidize some sort of transportation. Not everyone drives or has a car. You take my daughter for instance who has thyroid disease has lost some of her… Read more »
Hugger1
Guest

I lived in Casselman before moving to Cornwall. The cost for the bus was not that expensive if you take into account gas, insurance increase, parking fees, etc. A commuter train would be nice. But it has to be revenue neutral. Taxpayers cannot continue to fund these pipe-dreams of cities and municipalities.

jules
Guest
Hugger we know people who live in Embrun and there is another village besides that one as well where they live. I worked with people from Alfred, Plantagenet and other places and they wished that they had a commuter train a long time ago. A commuter train would work best to pick up the people everywhere. For Cornwall I would like to see the people of Long Sault and all the little towns be able to have a chance for work outside of their communities and maybe people would change for the better. People need good transportation for work and… Read more »
Hugger1
Guest

There’s no disputing a commuter train is needed. But it has to make economical sense. I don’t think taxpayers would be willing to foot the bill for a commuter train unless it made sense.

Harry Valentine
Guest
With regard to commuter bus service to/from Ottawa, Voyageur and Greyhound focus on their main markets such as Ottawa – Montreal. At one time many decades ago and prior to the construction of the 400-series highways in Eastern Ontario, the intercity buses travelled along Hwy 2 and Hwy 31. All Montreal – Toronto buses made a stop in downtown Cornwall, near Pitt & Second and the Cornwall – Ottawa service was well patronized. At that time, passenger train service to/from Montreal was good and involved up to 7-trains per day in each direction. VIA Rail concentrates on their main intercity… Read more »
jules
Guest
Mr. Valentine you remind me of the better times in Cornwall when they had the Voyageur bus downtown on Adams Avenue off Pitt Street and it was a good spot for people who could walk or take the city buses back home. Voyageur put themselves on Tollgate Road and then left Cornwall and now whether it is the bus system which is finished or the train system again finished it has isolated Cornwall completely. There are a number of people who commute everyday to Ottawa and back and I see the O-Train everyday on our morning walks in the park… Read more »
Brian
Guest

I like your proposal Jamie. The actual contribution from fares to the city is minimal compared to the contribution a transit-free system would make in the city. Add to that proposal an intelligent network of safe bike lanes everywhere and you might have a city that’s considered resident friendly and that just may be one of the more important considerations any family/entrepreneur would make before settling here or for that matter leaving.

One Who Cares
Guest
City council devoted time on their agenda to bikes and an old model bike was brought into council for display but perhaps equal time should have been spent of the issue that Jamie has discussed regarding Public Transit. The reality is that many people do not ride bikes, many people realize that in inclement weather a bike ride down a city street is not always the safest method of travel for getting around the city. To assume that everyone will use more bike lanes and that we need more bike lanes is not taking into consideration that many will continue… Read more »
One Who Cares
Guest

One only has to look at the parking lots of many commercial stores to realize that people arrived at those destinations via car/truck and public transportation. Not everyone is out shopping on a bike.

Public transit certainly is an important community issue and thank you again Jamie for addressing this in our community.

One Who Cares
Guest
We already have concerned business owners who do not want bike lanes obstructing areas that should be designated parking space for their customers. If other accessible parking in not available, then street parking draws customers into shops and stores. Many people could not drive around a block area for a long time waiting for a parking space to become available, depending on the nature of the business and how long people are inside the store/shop. People will only tolerate this for so long then move onto some other business or area. Many people with a disability depend on the ease… Read more »
Brian
Guest
People really need to get out more and broaden their horizons. Take a look at any of the more exciting cities across Canada with huge community participation and great business opportunities and you’ll see bike lanes right through the main core. I agree with the necessity of safe and easy access to businesses but don’t agree with this idea that bike lanes conflict with that. In fact bike lanes dramatically increase participation in downtown business core areas particularly because of the safe and easy access. The only ones that really benefit from this out-dated urban development perspective are those who… Read more »
One Who Cares
Guest
People do need to broaden their horizons in this community, we still have people trying to convince others we should be living back in the dark ages re other important issues. The bike lane concern came from some business owners not a personal perspective only. There happens to be other businesses in this community that are not part of the downtown core and these people also must have available parking for their customers. If you had a small business in an area of this city that depended on your clientele having available parking you would understand the importance of this… Read more »
One Who Cares
Guest
Brian, when did you last stop and take a look at the age and ability of many of the senior residents of our community? Not all, but many are experiencing issues with walking let alone biking, many have serious leg and hip issues and other health issues and they enjoy having safe and easy parking available for them. If you ever watched many times even this parking is lacking at various times and these people are made to linger or move on. Since many seniors enjoy the shopping experience, I and others do not think some of these people will… Read more »
Simon
Guest
Bike lane planning in this city is a farce …and no wonder, look around the council table, maybe 2 out of 10 could ride a bicycle past the length of their shadow. Meandering paths are best suited to walkers and handicap conveyances. Coherent and practical bike path planning should include straight-line and direct routes (that are dedicated or at least safe) to cyclists — not hugging highways. For instance, a route parallel to Second (perhaps First or Third) with a lane protected with posts, pylons or curbing …or a dedicated bicycle path between the old canal and Second Street —… Read more »
Brian
Guest
@One Who Cares: There are many seniors, active seniors, who would genuinely love to ride their bikes if only the streets were safe for them. Clean sidewalks are a much bigger problem. Your suggestion that we can’t have bike lanes because seniors won’t be able to park their cars close to business seems almost opportunistic. You don’t think these seniors are concerned about their kids and grandkids who need these bike lanes? Or perhaps you think that seniors want to live in a town that’s seemingly designed to attract seniors at the expense of the rest of the family? Do… Read more »
One Who Cares
Guest
@Brian, There certainly are many wonderful active seniors and if you read I did mention that fact that those who were able to enjoy activities such as biking are to be congratulated and so it should be but that should not detract from the fact that there are many who are not able to take part in such activities due to health issues. I did not say that we can’t have bike lanes, what I said was that it will take more than bike lanes to restore the downtown core and since a multitude of people never or seldom go… Read more »
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