Visions For The GTTAThe Metrolinx Regional Transportation Plan was approved in 2008, and, when fully implemented we will finally have a regional transportation system that responds to our needs. We will have a fast, frequent and expanded regional rapid transit network that brings rapid transit to within 2 kilometres of 90% of the population, and higher-order transit connectivity to the Pearson Airport district from all directions, including Downtown Toronto, Midtown Toronto, North York and Mississauga City Centre. We will have an expanded Union Station to handle the crowds of the expanded rail service, and a complete walking and cycling networks with bikesharing programs to eliminate the need to drive short distances. We will have an information system for travellers to eliminate the "I don't know when the bus runs" excuse, and we will have a region-wide integrated transit fare system that breaks down actual and perceived barriers between transit systems. We will have a system of connected mobility hubs where people can live, work and play in sustainable communities, and we will have a comprehensive strategy for goods movement to ensure that our economy doesn't choke in congestion. Finally, we will have an Investment Strategy to provide immediate, stable and predictable funding to ensure that all this comes to fruition.
The transportation network is a limited resource, much like timber or petroleum or fresh water. Rather than cut down all of the forests in the country to satisfy our need for paper, we made a decision decades ago to recycle our old paper into new. The transit network needs to be treated similarly. We cannot continue widen our local roads until we have a freeway in every community. We have to "recycle" our transportation network by making more efficient use of it. This will mean disruption to local businesses during the construction phase and it will mean taking lanes away from car drivers. When the alternative is excessively long commutes, an economy that can't ship goods to market, and an environment that we only talk about in stories to our children, we have no choice.
The Metrolinx RTP will reduce congestion, but it cannot solve it. As long as the region continues to grow, the demand on the transportation network will grow with it. As a result, we have to ensure that capacity grows with it. We do this by implementing the plan, extending and upgrade the projects we've built, then build other projects. Just as the plan says, we commit to continuous improvement. That's where the new Visions for the GTTA plan comes in. While the RTP will be transformative, the Visions plan seeks to extend that the other corridors across the Greater Golden Horseshoe region and the Province of Ontario. The coming days will bring a series of blog posts going into detail on each of my recommendations and "revolutionary actions". But for now, please visit www.gttavisions.com; demand that your municipal, provincial and federal representative support Metrolinx and transit in the GTHA; and encourage our leaders to go beyond what is already planned in order to make our communities better places to live.