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37 Comments

cityscape

12-Step Plan to Get Toronto Moving

Community groups develop set of proposals to improve walking, cycling, and transit—and they want council candidates on board.

No one denies Torontonians face serious challenges getting around. Hassles, difficulties, and downright dangers can make the city a trial to navigate for transit riders, cyclists, and pedestrians. Hoping that a clear plan presented during a municipal election campaign will get some political attention and goodwill, a variety of community groups—Toronto Centre for Active Transportation (TCAT), the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA), Cycle Toronto, Walk Toronto, and Canada Walks—have gotten together and come up with a list of 12 “priority actions,” which are contained in a new report, “Building a Toronto That Moves.”

The groups behind the report are calling on all council candidates to endorse these priority actions and to work on their implementation during the next council term. The 12 actions are geared toward improving walking, cycling, and public transit (four for each). Here are the basics:

Walking

  • Create “slow zones” (with a maximum speed of 30 km/hr) on residential roads.
  • Widen sidewalks in downtown Toronto.
  • Harmonize residential sidewalk snow clearing across the city, at an estimated cost of $10M per year.
  • Work with the Toronto area school boards to develop and implement School Travel Plans that will improve the safety and integrity of school walking routes.

Cycling

  • Create a Minimum Grid of 100 km of protected bike lanes on main streets and 100 km of bicycle boulevards on residential streets across Toronto by 2018.
  • Create 100 new on-street parking corrals across Toronto.
  • Connect major transit hubs in North York, Scarborough and Etobicoke with protected bike lanes and bicycle boulevards enabling Torontonians to bike as a part of their commute.
  • Implement a Complete Streets policy in the Official Plan. (“A Complete Streets policy ensures that the entire network is consistently designed and operated for all road users, including cyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.”)

Transit

  • Freeze transit fares for four years.
  • Provide a fare reduction for those in financial need.
  • Improve service levels beyond any increase in ridership.
  • Keep the TTC public.

“Everyone knows moving around Toronto is tough,” commented Toronto Environmental Alliance’s Franz Hartmann in a press release. “But crowded transit, bike lanes, sidewalks, and roads don’t have to be our future.” Meanwhile, Torontonians will have to wait and see what kind of political will there’ll be after October 27, 2014, to build a Toronto that moves.

Comments

  • Phil

    Yes, widen sidewalks, freeze fares, increase service, protected bike lanes, complete streets, etc. But what the hell does “keep the TTC public” have to do with anything?

    • vampchick21

      According to NDP and PC election ad campaigns, the Liberals plan to partially privatize transit (accuracy pending, it’s a campaign ad, and we’ve seen how those can be) and then there was the infamous Ford threat of building a million gazillion subways with the trillion gazillion kachillion dollars they’d get with a private partnership. That line in the plan is pre-empative of idiots trying to do just that.

    • OgtheDim

      The use of the phrase “Keep the TTC public” indicates to me that one of the transit unions has a say in how this was developed.

      That this group couldn’t or wouldn’t come up with another 4th transit idea to fit their convenient 4 points per section plan is kinda sad.

      • torontothegreat

        Why? There are a few glaring examples of the woes of privatizing transit in both Canada and around the world, much has been written/researched on the subject outside of “dem dirty unions – derp”.

      • dsmithhfx

        It’s still a pretty good idea.

      • Testu

        There’s only one transit union that cares if the TTC is fully publicly owned, ATU Local 113 (The TTC workers union).

        Even ATU Canada doesn’t have anything to say because they already represent the other Metrolinx operators’ union locals, and whether or not a private company operates the LRT lines (which is what the whole thing is about), the operators will be represented by ATU.

  • randyfitzimmons

    Bike lanes are all fine and good, but they need a barrier. Everything and everyone, from cars to joggers feel that they are entitled to use that space whenever they feel like it. How about the police ticketing those offenders, rather than lurking on side streets ticketing cyclists for rolling past stop signs in zero traffic?

    • wklis

      Barriers on any arterial roads with a speed limit of 60, 70, or more km/h. IE. Highway 27.

      • tomwest

        No road should have a speed limit over 50km/hr in an urban area (Gardiner/DVP/400-series highways aside)

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    No pedestrian-and-cyclist-only zones?

  • Steveinto

    Change street corners, with a smaller radius, forcing drivers to slow down.

    • Jason Kucherawy

      Buses and trucks already have a hard time turning corners downtown, and you want to make that even more difficult, or have them run up on the sidewalk?

      • Steveinto

        Cars and trucks already use the sidewalks. The need for a wide radius is not needed on most city corners.

  • mjennings

    Remove street parking for cars downtown to facilitate wider sidewalks and dedicated bike lanes. Reduce speed limit in high pedestrian areas to 30km enforced by photo radar. Double fines and demerit points for speeding in built up urban areas and introduce an additional penalty of 3 to 5 demerit points for those using a mobile while driving. In case you wanted to know, I’m a pedestrian, cyclist and driver in Toronto.

    • OpportKnocks

      Remove street parking on King and Queen AND make them one way AND move the streetcars to the curb lane to share with cyclists. Rush hour traffic would be a breeze.

      • torontothegreat

        So presumably you’d have to go west on King and east on Queen? Making them one way would turn them into desolate roadways like Adelaide or Richmond.

  • maar345

    few things missing actually:
    1) fare integration with GO transit. so much unused capacity is on the train rails, integrate please.
    2) allow bikes go both ways in residential one way streets (opt out instead of opt in like today).
    3) more buses less bus/street car stops. we can walk more than 50m.

    • Jason Kucherawy

      Not everyone can walk as far as you can.

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        Some people can’t stand for very long, so do we replace all the standing room on vehicles with more seats?

        • Jason Kucherawy

          I usually give up my seat to someone who needs to sit. And I would encourage others to do the same.

          • Steveinto

            How do you make that decision? It is at times impossible to tell if someone needs to sit by looking at them.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            As most people do, but you’ve missed the point. The transit system exists to serve hundreds of thousands of people a day, not just those with mobility issues. Imagine buses and streetcars stopping every 10 metres because one in a hundred thousand passengers has difficulty walking any farther than that.

      • maar345

        True. Yet I should not be able to walk faster than a bus that has to kneel down every 50m.

        Which is another point I forgot to make. Ask the drivers not to kneel for absolutely everybody. Thank you.

  • wklis

    The wider suburban arterial roads can get their wide lanes narrowed to reduce the speed limit to 50 km/h and to allow room to put in bicycle lanes. If needed part of the grass boulevard could be taken over for bicycles.

    And clear the bicycle lanes and paths of snow in winter.

    • nevilleross

      Those roads may need to be converted to LRT operation one day.

  • Don River

    Freezing fares for four years will get us a large increase in year five. Great plan.

    Shouldn’t take more than a day or two to move hundreds of buildings a few feet back so we can widen sidewalks. Or we can implement people-shrinking technology in the downtown core.

    • dsmithhfx

      Gosh… let’s do nothing. It’s worked so well!

      • Don River

        Proposing to keep the TTC public (because everyone and their mother has been proposing to make it private) IS doing nothing.

        • Testu

          You do realize that the first thing a privately run TTC would do is ditch the massively unprofitable lines right? Like say, the Sheppard subway and that two stop extension to nowhere in Scarborough.

          • Don River

            Moot point since it will never happen.

        • dsmithhfx

          Everyone and their mother… which is who, exactly?

          • Don River

            Nobody. It was sarcasm.

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      Removing one or both parking lanes from a street creates space for wider sidewalks.

      • Don River

        I could live with that. Area merchants would fight against it.

        • rich1299

          Many merchants seem to think a lot more of their customers drive and park near their stores than actually do. There was massive outrage and predictions of impending doom from merchants along the Lake Shore strip in south Etobicoke back when the Transit City plan was released. The Lake Shore west LRT would’ve meant the elimination of on street parking during rush hours just like its done in most of the other older parts of Toronto right now. Even if some customers did drive the area is littered with Green P lots that I’ve never seen more than about 1/5-1/8 full. If they had spent some time outside their stores they’d realize almost every single customer was from the local area and walked there.

          Because they drove to their stores they seemed to think all their customers did too. Its not like their customers drove past dozens of other drug and discount stores just to shop at their particular one. One merchant in particular became so offensive and insulting when I expressed my support for the LRT line I never shopped there again, after all there were 3 other stores just like his within a 5 minute walk either way.

        • tyrannosaurus_rek

          Area merchants put their own personal interests ahead of the interests and needs of the larger community and city.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    AKA the Idaho Stop.