Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for November 5th, 2009

TransLink CEO Prendergast departs

with 11 comments

Jeff Nagel on BC Local News reports that Tom Prendergast has decided to take a new job as president of the New York City Transit Authority. There has been significant coverage of changes at the MTA recently  in the New York media. The job there is much bigger and more important than his current job so although there are interesting insights in Nagel’s piece, I would think that there is as much “pull” as “push” in this decision. Prendergast did make a very good case for expansion beyond the funding provided in the current legislation, and I am sure that he was very saddened by the province’s intransigence on funding.

Being head of an expanding organisation would have been a much better job than simply keeping on at a steady state. But actually that also says a lot about the relative importance we attach to transit in this region. The next few years will see significant continued expansion of the highways in the region, which I would say have also seen more growth than the transit system in recent years. What is galling is that the spin that is put on this is the notion of “balance” in transportation investment, when of course far more is being spent – has been spent – on roads than transit. So there is clearly going to be a relative decline in transit’s importance here.

That is not going to be the case in New York’s system. Significant new projects of both new subways and bus rapid transit are planned. New York – as the recent talk by their Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan showed – is far ahead of Greater Vancouver not just in its provision but also its understanding of what the future city will need. We are comforting ourselves with the idea that we have enough capacity to charge a complete switch over to electric cars.  Not that that is going to happen anytime soon. And will do nothing at all to deal with traffic congestion anywhere. But it might allow for continued car dependency and all that entails.

Written by Stephen Rees

November 5, 2009 at 11:02 am

Posted in transit, Transportation