transit-buildingb-fullBy Anne Finlay-Stewart

Tuesday, July 15, at the sound of the noon whistle, Owen Sounders will gather at the bus terminal to celebrate a healthy public transit system and safe active transportation.

A brainchild of the 350 Grey Bruce climate action group, the event will draw attention to city residents' dependence on fossil fuels, particularly for filling up private cars. The group found willing partners in those who rely on public transit for their daily activities.

After some encouraging words, participants are invited to hop on their bikes or the city buses to their next destination, or to tour around the city.

The clock is ticking for Owen Sound council to make decisions on transit, in particular the seating capacity of new buses to be purchased by their contractor, First Student.

Transit activists Bernice Ackerman and John McLoughlin say that some of the ridership statistics on which plans are being made were collected over a few abnormally harsh winter months.

They believe system and vehicle capacity must be designed for an aging, environmentally-concerned population faced with rising gas prices.

Organizers of the July 15th "car free" event hope this will be the first of many to promote the conversation.

Among the benefits when more people leave their cars at home:

Cleaner air, especially for the one out of every five people who live with lung disease.
Less congestion downtown, including for emergency and delivery services
Safer roads for pedestrians and "active transportation" users.


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