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Our Ponderous Population

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Introduction

Our Ponderous Population The growing population of a city affects many aspects of daily life, such as transportation. By the year 2020, "the city of Edmonton's population is expected to grow from 616,000 [in 1996] to 829,000 people"1; 1.17 million in the region surrounding Edmonton2. To avoid traffic and a poor infrastructure, the Transportation Master Plan (TMP) has been written with changes the city will make to satisfy our future needs. But as promising as it seems, does it satisfy Mother Nature's needs? The main purpose of the TMP is to "establish a framework for how the City of Edmonton will address its future transportation needs to the year 2020."3 Based on the theory that due to an increased population and changed demographic ("significantly larger proportion of seniors...[smaller] school-aged portion"4), there will be more decentralised travel patterns, which means "more and longer trips."5 Due to the larger population, vehicle emission levels will be higher, but not by much due to improvements in vehicle design.6 To account for all this, the TMP will: "manage traffic congestion"7, "provide a wider range of travel options [such as public transit]"8, keep community impacts of the TMP low, keep the infrastructure in good shape, "support efforts ...read more.

Middle

The implementation of this plan should involve the input of citizens of Edmonton, especially since they are taxpayers and fund the better half of the project. Since they are stakeholders, their concerns should be acknowledged. Such concerns (regarding the environment) would revolve around the fact that although the plan does realise the problem of pollution and keeps it to a minimum, it does not lower it. Although the plan has not been fully implemented yet, there are already disputes, dealing with the extension of the LRT to the south side (Heritage Mall; soon to be an office complex) and not to the west (West Edmonton Mall)14. West Edmonton Mall receives many more people than Heritage Mall, and if the LRT were to be extended there, the total emission levels per capita would drastically decrease. A solution to the problem would be to simply start the planning process over for the West Side. Although it seems simple, changing plans mid-stream costs money and time, something we all need.15 The introduction of electric cars would reduce emissions drastically. Over the course of 19 years (until 2020), electric cars could be well established. ...read more.

Conclusion

Such a law would be difficult to pass, especially when comparing Edmonton, a clean, well developed city, to Mexico City - landfill of the Americas. Comparisons would also be made to states such as Washington, which has recently exempted older vehicles from emission inspections, since older vehicles are most of the time collected and not driven so much[ARF1].22 For Edmonton, the TMP is the way to go until 2020, since it does keep the environment in mind, and does not inflict supplementary damage. Edmonton is a relatively clean city, and until 2020, will stay that way. But in the long run, if we continue to act as we do today, having to go outside in a radiation suit with gas mask will become a harsh reality. That is why we must act now to combat pollution, through law, or simple personal decisions, such as wishing to recycle or not. Until antimatter-matter reactions can efficiently fuel our cars23, or until human teleportation becomes a reality24, measures such as using low emissions vehicles, and listening to others, must be taken to resolve our differences, and ultimately come up with solutions to relegate the problem of pollution. Most of us do not see the gravity of the situation, but we must look ahead and act now, before we are exiled to an impending doom. ...read more.

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