../Morning Post
Posted February 8, 2011

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Transportation

New transportation demand management strategy encourages people to get out of their cars

KITCHENER – A proposal to implement a transportation demand strategy, the principles of which were approved by the city’s planning and strategic initiatives committee, will phase in a number of initiatives that will, in the long run, minimize traffic congestion, improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce parking demand, and improve public health.

The strategy, developed by an independent consultant, looks to address key transportation related concerns in and around Kitchener. The strategy recommends a wide range of policies, programs, services, and products aimed at having a positive impact on how residents travel in the future.

"People live too far away from where they work. If they lived within a kilometre of where they work, then they could walk or bike to work. Then there would be less congestion, no traffic issues or parking space requirements, better air quality,” said Counc. Zyg Janecki, co-chair of the committee. “We need to educate people and enable them to get out of their cars and stop commuting to work."

Recent studies by the city – including the Environics Surveys and subsequent Who-are-you-Kitchener? community consultations – have found strong citizen support for sustainable transportation.

For example, recent Environics Surveys have indicated that 89 per cent of Kitchener residents want the city to focus significant resources on becoming more environmentally friendly through investments in bike trails, transit, environmental laws, and growth management policies.

TDM programs and strategies will encourage more use of sustainable modes of transportation and support decisions about making trips that will reduce, combine, or shorten vehicle trips.

The TDM plan is based on a multi-year program that will phase in numerous initiatives over five years, some of which may include:

. Subsidized corporate Grand River Transit passes
. Carpool matching
. Guaranteed ride home program
. Pilot telework program, which incorporates Web conferencing tools to avoid the need for city employees to move between facilities
. Carbon tracking tool
. Outreach programs
. Marketing, educational and promotional events

Implementation of the TDM plan will result in significant benefits to the city and to the downtown community, including:

. Reduced parking demand
. Less congestion
. More pedestrian-oriented
. Balanced approach to transportation
. Cleaner air
. Move liveable community

The TDM strategy, along with the implementation of the Cycling Master Plan and Long Term Parking Strategy, will provide the public with greater choice, incentives and opportunities to choose travel modes other than the single occupant vehicle.

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