October Update

Budget Telephone Town Hall

On Wednesday, October 18th, I hosted our first ever Budget Telephone Town Hall.  We had a great turn out and received many thoughtful questions regarding Burlington. I want to thank all the residents who participated in this discussion.

Questions ranged from investing in our transit, bike lanes to managing traffic flow on our city streets. We gained a tremendous amount of feedback that we will use to create our 2018 Budget.

This video is a snapshot of the topics raised on Wednesday night.

Inspire Burlington With Moses Znaimer

The Mayor’s Inspire Burlington Series, with the President of CARP, Moses Znaimer is SOLD OUT!  We announced the event earlier this month and we’re thrilled to see that this event is one not to be missed.

Moses will share his perspective on a “New Vision of Aging for Canada”.  How baby boomers have changed in the way they age.

Our experience has shown us that even when people register to attend, they miss the event due to conflicts.  We will initiate a stand-by line for walk-ins and try our best to accommodate everyone.

Downtown Mobility Hub Draft Plan

Last month, our city staff unveiled the Downtown Mobility Hub draft New Precinct Plan and Policy Framework to members of the council.

The new Draft Precinct Plan was produced after extensive consultation with the community.  It proposes dedicating 49% of our downtown for public use and establishes where mid-rise and tall buildings should be located.

I encourage you to take a look and let me know what you think.  You can watch the entire presentation HERE or read about it HERE.

Burlington Matters Back For Another Season

 

Another season of Burlington Matters is back on Your TV (Formally TV Cogeco).

I was in the studio last week taping the season premiere.

Our first episode focuses on the Draft New Precinct Plan for Downtown Mobility Hub. Mary Lou Tanner, Director of Planning and Building and Rosa Bustamante, Manager of Mobility Hubs joined me on the show and we had a great discussion on the future of our beautiful Downtown.
Burlington Matters repeats throughout the week and you can find the full
schedule here.Tune in on Cable 23 or HD Cable 700. To suggest an episode topic, please email mayor@burlington.ca 

Live with Kelly from Kelly’s Bake Shoppe

I had a wonderful opportunity to sit down with Kelly Childs, the owner of Kelly’s Bake Shoppe on Brant Street, to discuss something more personal.
I was invited to go LIVE on Kelly’s Facebook page to discuss the importance of mindfulness and the benefits of meditation. Not many of you know that I meditate on a regular basis. It allows me to pause from my very busy schedule to regroup and focus.
Thank you to Kelly and the team for a great start to my morning last week. You can watch the interview here.

Travel To Apeldoorn Netherlands!

This is a rare opportunity! Travel to Burlington’s twin city Apeldoorn Netherlands and stay with local families while you explore Amsterdam with Burlington’s Mundialization Citizen Committee! This is the best way to experience Dutch hospitality and culture.

You can learn more about the trip at upcoming information sessions or call 905-335-7600 ext. 7855 or email mundialization@burlington.ca

Transit in Burlington: Reflections upon completing the transit challenge

B-nSQq4W8AEN9zN[1]Last month, Burlington for Accessible Sustainable Transit (BFAST) issued a challenge to members of Burlington city council. The transit advocacy group asked us to take the bus for any five days over the course of a month, with a deadline of March 28.

This past weekend, I completed my challenge and wanted to share my perspective.

First and foremost, my experience taking the bus was positive.

The buses, overall, were on time and clean. Our drivers, who have a reputation for being among the friendliest in the GTA, met expectations. Riders were friendly and there were between 3-10 people on each bus I travelled on during the various days and times.

The walk to the bus stop from my house was about five minutes. As the challenge was in February and March, it gave me the opportunity to take the bus in the coldest part of this winter.

The downtown stop was a close walk to City Hall. Both the stop near my home and downtown had bus shelters, which helped during the colder days.

I took the bus on weekday mornings, weekday evenings, as well as on Saturday and Sunday, to get a good idea of the different levels of service and run times. I did not let transit staff know what dates and times I would be riding the bus so as to get a real experience, with the exception of the media day we held the first week where we invited reporters and photographers to ride the bus with myself.

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I spoke with a number of transit users on the bus who were also happy with the service. They said the buses are generally on time, with great drivers.

Another positive outcome of this challenge was the community interaction and engagement about our transit system.

Through my rides on the bus, media coverage and my social media accounts, I interacted with hundreds of residents about transit.

People approached me everywhere from the coffee shop to the grocery store to talk to me about my experience through the transit challenge.

There were mostly positive comments, as well as constructive criticism. It was good to hear a variety of opinions.

I understand there are residents calling for improvements to our transit system. As with many municipalities, riders are looking for reliable, affordable and convenient service.

I hear your concerns and we are working on solutions. However, change cannot happen overnight, and we need to do our homework.

We need to ensure we have the necessary data on ridership and routes before we make any major changes.

A big development is expected this fall with the implementation of a transit intelligent transportation system.

This system will give riders electronic access to real time bus information.

Handi-Van riders will experience some significant improvements with real time bus arrival texts, improved booking technology and trip planning tools.

Importantly, it will provide Burlington Transit with electronic reporting on such aspects as on-time performance, boardings and ridership. This gives us hard data when determining transit improvements.

Public engagement is also ongoing for the Transportation Master Plan.

This municipal strategy co-ordinates transportation networks and services with anticipated community growth. A final report will be ready for December 2015.

We are doing our homework and I am committed to improving our service.

A welcome impact of an efficient transit system is reduced traffic congestion, but I recognize this will also require a shift among our residents to try alternative modes of transportation.

I continue to struggle with the reality of getting people to park their cars and get onto the bus.CAYSjCnUgAEKiAP[1]

I believe the cost of our transit service is too high to make this a meaningful alternative to people that own cars.

The vast majority of people who drive cars to a Burlington destination can park for free except in downtown Burlington. However, in downtown you can park for free on Saturdays and Sundays.

It costs approximately $132 per month to park per month in the downtown and since December is free, you only have to pay that for 11 months, whereas an adult transit pass is currently $95 per month.

The difference in cost is not big enough to get drivers to switch to taking the bus.

It is also an expensive mode of transportation for some of our lower income residents.

I recently took a vacation to Texas, where I used public transit in San Antonio and Austin.

It cost $1.25 per ride or $2.50 for an all day pass.

In the United States, the federal government provides transit operating funding, which we do not have in Canada. Therefore, our fares cannot be as low, but one idea that came from my trip is that Burlington Transit should offer an all day pass.

Among other ideas for improving transit that I heard from riders during my trips on the bus was the need to have schedules on the bus stops, as this helps promote transit.

I also heard we need a good transit app that people can download to their smart phone – that will come this fall with the transit intelligent system.

People have asked if I will continue to ride the bus now that I completed the challenge.

I believe I will when my schedule warrants. I’m often in meetings across the city on a daily basis, with little time between for travel, but on days I’m only at city hall, I will hop on and let Burlington Transit do the driving.

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I will be sharing my experience and ideas with transit staff. I encourage you to connect with me about this challenge and any other ideas you would like me to share with our transit department by emailing mayor@burlington.ca.