Car-centric lifestyles are still the way forward in Canada

Removing cars from streets is impractical

Image supplied by: Photo by Curtis Heinzl
Adham believes in finding alternative climate change solutions.

There are more characters in SpongeBob than there are cities whose people I would recommend fully adopt a non-car-centric lifestyle.

Last week The Journal published an editorial arguing car-centric lifestyles aren’t the way forward; in reality, historical urban planning was designed to optimize and rely on cars. Attempts to alter this daily habit are impractical and arduous—even in Bikini Bottom.

In Saint John, the second largest city in New Brunswick, less than 50 per cent of the population is within 500 meters of accessible public transit. The one remaining regional municipality, six remaining cities, eight rural communities, and 26 towns are victims of less attainable public methods of transportation.

Without cars, thousands of New Brunswick residents would have to walk or bike for hours to buy groceries or drop their children off at school. Considering nearly 25 per cent of the population is living with a disability and over 20 per cent is older than 65, it’s simply absurd to request such transportation measures.

Unless the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) can donate horses to New Brunswick residents, cars remain the only viable and feasible solution.

Roughly 15 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse emissions come from cars and trucks, whereas 45 per cent are derived from the burning fuel for electricity and heat. Energy should be the focal point of reducing emissions. We can start by implementing renewable sources, developing carbon capture and storage technology, and installing rooftop solar panels, to name a few.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has launched the iZEV program, offering point-of-sale incentives for electric cars and a target of zero-emissions by 2035 by car and truck sales. A re-elected Canadian Liberal party promises 50,000 electric vehicle chargers and hydrogen stations, alongside a $1.5 billion investment in the iZEV rebate program.

Comparatively, the Conservative Party of Canada promises supplying zero emission nuclear technology and mining elements required for electrification.

There are several plans and alternatives to reducing Canadas’s carbon footprint than simply removing cars from the street. That said, there are several cities where improved public transportation is the most reasonable solution.

Take the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) for example: it’s ludicrously overcrowded with only three subway lines and 74 stops.

The TTC is highly incompetent and incomparable to other transit systems such as Singapore with its six lines or London with 11 lines and 270 stations. To make matters worse, Toronto’s transit system is somehow still the highest-ranking in Canada with a transit score of 78; the second is Vancouver with a score of 74.

Canadians would rather drive in terrible Toronto traffic than take this lamentable alternative.

Buses are unpredictable, as Regina from Mean Girls could tell you. They are victim to significant delays and often just don’t show up. This problem is especially pronounced in smaller Canadian cities where a bus only appears every other hour.

Those promoting non-car-centric lifestyles are nescient to the current transit situation in Canada and its countless problems. If more individuals are to rely on the bus, its current consequences will only be enunciated.

Alternative forms of transportation, such as biking or walking, are exceptionally time-consuming and energy-draining, especially if you’re going to an already demanding job.

Let’s also not forgot about the thousands of Canadians who put food on the table by providing car services such as taxi or Uber. Considering more than 50 per cent of taxi drivers are immigrants, attempts to eradicate this sector could significantly disrupt their settling process.

If you’re in an emergency without a car, it can be dangerous to solely rely on a delayed bus or unpredictable paramedics. Rather than moving away from cars, we should be trying to lower car payments so more people can afford to buy them.

Regina, SpongeBob, thousands of Canadian residents, and myself all have one thing in common: We don’t like buses. They’re inconvenient, inaccessible, and a hit to the face.


Adham is a second year Health Sciences student.


Cars, Climate change, Energy, Transportation

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