Monday, December 20, 2010

MetroTHINK

A few weeks ago I began to feel that this blog needed a refresh. I originally started writing here in 2006, just after the Ontario government created the agency now known as Metrolinx. I had high hopes for the agency to improve public transit across the GTA, improve coordination between municipalities, and end cycles of ad-hoc planning.

While the debate over the future of transportation expansion within the 416 seems to suggest that Metrolinx's ability to end cycles of ad-hoc planning is limited by the willingness of successive councils to build upon the plans of their predecessors, I do believe that the agency has been successful. After many years, the Ontario government used the agency as a vehicle to plan and fund transit expansion projects. The agency encouraged us to think outside of our municipal boundaries and deal with transportation problems that extend beyond the jurisdiction of a single transportation provider. Finally, the agency developed a long term transportation vision that dealt with the big picture - not just transit planning for a single corridor.

Whatever comes of the debate occurring in the 416, I believe Metrolinx will play a key role in continuing to integrate transit systems - even if they wish to deal with their own internal issues by themselves. The TTC will continue to expand regardless of the debate, as will Brampton Transit, Durham Region Transit and the rest of the transit providers. However, Metrolinx will be key in making sure someone who lives in Brampton can connect to Toronto without having to travel through Markham first.

While this blog was originally a vision for what Metrolinx could be, it was never meant to be exclusively about Metrolinx and transportation. Throughout the years I've discussed land-use planning, urban design, architecture, heritage conservation, politics and plenty of other urban issues that I feel make cities and towns unique and exciting places. I'd like to continue to talk more about those issues, but I have recently felt that the name I selected too strongly branded me as a one-dimensional Toronto-based transit blogger. This is why I've chosen to give this space a refresh.

Visions for the GTTA is now MetroTHINK. It's a "subtle" reminder of where I came from, but I feel it gives me the freedom to explore many different topics on the places and spaces we all call home - wherever that may be. MetroTHINK is all things urban and regional.

Right now I've used some wonderful Wordpress plugins to migrate all the posts over to the new blog www.tinyurl.com/metrothink, and some more wonderful plugins to redirect all the Blogger traffic to the new site. The Visions for the GTTA website is still online, since it's literally a vision for the GTTA that I hope may one day be realized. I will eventually find a way to redirect the RSS feeds, but in the mean time please update them accordingly.

2010 may have been a year of global economic slowdown, but hopefully 2011 will see the sun shine brightly on the glass skyscrapers, lively parks and stately brownstones in cities all over the world.

The CN Tower's reflection in Waterpark Place

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