Fri. Nov 16th, 2018

Toronto needs high density Transit Nodes

I moved to Etobicoke about 18 years ago and am noticing some serious changes in the neighbourhood.

When I first moved into the area the streets were covered in shops, friendly people, and restaurants. And I was also a block away from the lakefront and it seemed like the perfect set up.

But, as the years went on I noticed that more and more housing was sprouting across the street, at the top of the street, and just about anywhere there was room. Townhomes were built in the neighbourhood in addition to a Starbucks and a clock tower. These additions seemed chic at the time, but the endless construction time that it took to build everything was a headache and the new families with one or two cars per household brought gridlock.

Of course, with Etobicoke turning into an up-and-coming area, more and more people caught wind of the developments and the building didn’t stop at a few strips of townhomes. The Beer Store was moved to make way for more townhomes, which brought even more cars and congestion to the already crowded area. I’m also hearing that the local car dealership is to become the site of even more new townhomes.

Having so many shops given way to make room for townhomes was a big change that brought gridlock wit it. To allow such development without building transit to support it was a big mistake, but will the low level of density that city planners now allow honestly support the cost to operate the transit our area so desperately needs?  The lack of proper planning 20 to 30 years ago created the transit problems that Toronto has today and without proper planning to consider higher density we will continue to require more higher taxes to subsidize it.

Are Toronto planners doing a better job today than they once did? It’s a question few can answer as the wall around the planning department has grown high over the past year.

The problem Toronto has to address was created by poor planning over the past two decades that allowed low density, low rise development along transit corridors. Without high density high rise development concentrated along transit corridors Toronto will have a hard time paying for the transit our city so desperately needs.

Toronto’s city planners must get over their fear of high density, high-rise development in transit nodes where higher density is needed to support transit development and operation. Without strong leadership from both the private and public sector we will continue to flounder, too hesitant to build ourselves into a world class city.

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