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Politics

City committee’s decision to cut 40% of London BRT project draws negative reviews

A rendering of the bus rapid transit system on Richmond Street at Grosvenor Street. The rendering may not be final.
A rendering of the bus rapid transit system on Richmond Street at Grosvenor Street. The rendering may not be final. The City of London

A preliminary decision to axe 40 per cent of London’s bus rapid transit project (BRT) is drawing negative reviews from the most ardent supporters and opponents of the original plan.

READ MORE: London’s “unbundled” BRT sees partial approval at committee level

Members of the Strategic Priorities and Policy committee — which includes all members of council — decided to scrap the north and west routes during their meeting on Monday night.

The group recommended moving ahead with the Downtown Loop, the Wellington Road Gateway and the East London Link.

Dan McDonald, speaking on behalf of anti-BRT group Downshift, is unsure what councillors are trying to accomplish.

“I can’t think of any other project on the face of the Earth where you have all these components, you do some odd selection process, and then say, ‘Oh, we have a viable system that we can now review.'”

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READ MORE: Coun. Phil Squire calls for more options, more time in London transit debate

Marcus Plowright, a spokesperson for pro-BRT group Build This City, says councillors who supported the east and south legs for their service to industrial areas are hypocrites.

“How does somebody living in Proudfoot — how does somebody living in the 51 apartment buildings that ring the Oxford and Wonderland corridor — how do they get to work now if they can’t get downtown to catch the BRT bus that takes them from downtown to those industrial areas?”

David Billson, co-founder and CEO of the local tech company rTraction also expressed disappointment.

“I think it’s going to hurt our ability to grow and retain those jobs and grow those companies in the city,” he explained.

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“I think there’s a real concern, from my perspective again, that companies will start setting up their production or development shops in other cities if they can’t have access to the talent here.”