What Toronto can do to improve transit, and neighborhoods.

The fight about LRT in some areas – has been about the belief that it would mean giving up space for cars. The plan to date has been about preserving that space, but perhaps, we should be having a discussion instead about improving the city. Would it make more sense to make the rail right of way wider, and greener?   Create a visual break from road, and make the area on the ROW grass between the rails? Trees beside? Note the feel of the roadway (which is quite large) in Strasbourg in the video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMfVA-xWYA4

Make room for bikes along the edges of the roadway, and try reducing the roadway to 4  through lanes(2 each way), plus turn lanes at intersections. Imagine Finch West with more trees, and space between road lanes. Rezone the area, to put a much greater emphasis on walking and transit, and redo the roadway, and try to bring the area along in the same way.

I would like to see a change in the local zoning beside LRT lines, that reduces the requirement for parking by 50%. Malls that were beside a stop required to have half the one spot per use – be permitted to make the assumption that ½ of all of their shoppers would approach the mall by transit, bike or on foot.   This would permit for a substantial increase in density, while making more of the services accessible by foot.  The local malls would be able to redevelop their parking lots, with much more local service.  There would be more room for increased population, while making the area more livable.

Toronto is supposed to be about people, not cars. We need to ask how we want to get around, and stop asserting that cars is how we get around, without looking at options.  If transit worked, why would we not use it? We have run out of room to make the car work.  We need to focus on making alternatives work. If we take a constructive approach, we can hugely improve commutes, make communities much more livable and reduce sprawl.  Improve transit, and biking options, reduce the requirement for parking, and we have more space for people. The requirement to serve the car is now a barrier to living well, that we need to get past.  These LRT need to be well connected to other transit to collect and distribute people across the city, without going miles out their way.

However, if we build a network of LRT with frequent service, that actually goes where people want to go, and use the opportunity to improve the road and change zoning, we can transform the city, reduce congestion, and create much better places to live.

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