Introduction to Transportation

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 It is important to be able to move from one place to another to be able to work, live, relate, play, volunteer and access services. To have available and accessible means of transportation to get around with ease, at an affordable cost and with low harm to the environment can have a significant impact on positive living in Niagara.

 

What we are doing well …

 The region of Niagara is a large geographic area that includes 12 municipalities that make up the region: 5 cities, 5 towns and 2 townships in a rural, urban mix. As with a majority of Canadians, the favourite mode of transportation is the automobile, but this is even more so in Niagara. Niagara Region offers alternative modes of transportation and buses that connect to Brock University and to Niagara College of Applied Arts and Technology. Niagara has excellent walking trails and 522 km of cycling networks along the Niagara River, the Welland Canal, the Bruce Trail and in designated municipal areas. The Niagara Public Health Department and others are involved in promoting walking and cycling in the region. A Job Bus operates in the region and the Specialized Transit has been operating for a year.

 

Where we can improve …

 Niagara covers a large geographic area and while public transportation exists mostly within cities, transportation between cities and towns is a challenge to Niagara citizens. For those without cars, and those who are disabled, the challenges are immense. Region-wide transportation services have been identified as a priority need. Because of increased urban sprawl, Niagara is not well connected with public transportation across Niagara, especially for those with low income, no car or special mobility challenges. Services, including some health care services are becoming more regional and centralized and this poses a great challenge to the public to be able to access needed services and recreational offerings in the region. Getting to work and to school is also a challenge, especially because of skyrocketing gas prices and for those without cars or with low wages. Peak times of the year and day create congestion on the QEW and the 406, highways that cross the region and connect to the four international border crossings to the United States. The rising costs of transportation and the lack of regularly scheduled inter-municipal public transit make getting from Niagara to other city centers difficult.

 

Overall score: Level 2. Of concern, needs attention.

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