Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thoughts on priorities

Once upon a time, most of the employment lands were located downtown and most of the residential lands were located uptown. It was fairly easy to plan the transportation network, because travel would always be downtown in the morning and uptown in the afternoon. Whichever line was the most crowded deserved an upgrade. Today, we live in a very complex region with travel patterns that resemble a spider web. There are plenty of jobs downtown, but a large number of office parks and factories are now located in the 905. There are plenty of houses in the suburbs, but more and more people are now living downtown. This has made prioritizing the lines much more difficult.

Under the old paradigm, the people in Markham would benefit from more GO Transit service because they would be going downtown. In today's world, however, is it better to invest in more GO service towards Toronto, or to invest in better VIVA service within the town?

This blog post isn't about which transit line should be our top priority - I don't think we will ever receive consensus on that topic. This is, however, a post about where small projects should fit in the capital budgets of the various transit providers.
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Sunday, November 07, 2010

Thoughts on co-fares

Most of GO Transit's parking lots are full during the day, and many fill up long before the last train of the rush hour has departed. At my home station, Brampton, demand for parking is so high that one has to arrive before 7:10 am in order to get a parking spot even though the last train departs for Union for nearly another hour. GO Transit has expanded lots at many stations and has even entered into the business of parking structure construction - including one massive one planned for Erindale GO - but many planners believe the land around GO stations would more productive if they were developed into transit-supportive communities. If this becomes an urban development goal, then we'll have to find other ways to get people to the station.
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Monday, November 01, 2010

Can subways build a transit city?

Rob Ford, Toronto's incoming mayor, was elected on a platform that called for subway construction instead of light rail construction. From the people I have spoken to, many are concerned about the future of Transit City, David Miller's initiative to build a series of light rail lines across Toronto. While there are many good reasons to forge ahead with Miller’s plan, what if we could build these proposed lines as subways. Are we still building Transit City?

Transit City became synonymous with light rail transit, but in many ways, the modal choice was the means to an ends. For transit city, the end goal was to add capacity and reliability to locally-oriented transit and to support constant strings of mid-rise development along Toronto's avenues. In essence, the true goal of Transit City was to transform suburban arteries into more vibrant, successful streets where people can live, work, play and shop. It was a project to urbanize the suburbs and attract investment by making these lands just as attractive for development as the downtown core. If subways can build a transit city, then these are the standards by which a subway plan must be measured.
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