2007 Better Transit Award to honour Jim Brown

Citizens for Better Transit

Three years ago, Citizens for Better Transit, in partnership with the ETS Advisory Board, launched an award to recognize citizens who have made significant contributions to the improvement of public transit. Named after former city councillor and transit advocate Professor Gerry Wright, this annual award is sponsored by Siemens Canada, a world leader in transportation technologies, and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 569.

The 2007 Gerry Wright Better Transit Award recognizes the contributions of Mr. J. A. (Jim) Brown.

Jim has been involved in the land development scene in Edmonton since 1973, and is currently active with the Urban Development Institute (UDI) and as President of his own company, Sherrick Management Ltd. Jim has long recognized the value of good public transit service. In 1991, he made a commitment to fund 50% of the operating cost of transit service for 18 months for the community of Wild Rose, and thus the Developer Funded Transit Program was begun. Over the past fifteen years, Jim has secured the participation of other land developers and succeeded in creating a “transit friendly” environment in a number of new communities. Through Jim’s efforts, the Developer Funded Transit Program has been expanded and modified such that developers now cover 100% of the operating cost of peak hour transit service for two years. Jim’s work fostered the early adoption of public transit as a transportation choice new communities by many residents, leading to the success of transit services in new communities like Wild Rose, The Grange, Blackmud Creek, Rutherford and Hamptons. Discussions to extend Developer Funded Transit to the new community of Windermere are currently underway.

In implementing transit service to new areas of the city, the rule “the sooner, the better” applies. If transit service is present as the community develops, there is a greater opportunity to build a solid ridership base than if the service is introduced later. However, when they are first established, new communities do not meet the minimum population threshold for service, and by the time they do, second cars have been purchased by residents and the opportunity to gain many riders is lost. Ridership counts show a 30% higher ridership rate in communities with the early introduction of Developer Funded Transit vs. communities where transit was introduced later, after the population threshold was met. The existence of transit service in a new community is also a desirable feature that attracts residents. Those are measures of Jim’s successes and the difference he has made in the lives of many Edmontonians.

The presentation of the 2007 award takes place at the ETS Community Conference on March 10th, 9:00 am, at the downtown campus of Grant MacEwan College.


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Citizens for Better Transit

"Moving to a Better Future"
Visit us at: www.bettertransit.ab.ca
Email us at: [email protected]