Toronto Election 2014: Issue Navigator—Transportation
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Toronto Election 2014:
Issue Navigator—Transportation

Photo by gbalogh, from the Torontoist Flickr pool.

Olivia Chow

Olivia Chow has promised to build 200 kilometres of new bike lanes within four years, including separated bike lanes downtown. She also wants to improve bike lane maintenance and snow clearance, and create more bicycle parking at TTC stations. All upgrades would be paid for by reallocating priorities in the existing cycling capital budget.

Pedestrian safety is a key part of Chow’s platform, which includes a proposed initiative that would allow entire neighbourhoods to reduce speed limits on their roads by 10 km/h (currently only individual streets can request lower speed limits). Chow also wants to introduce better lighting and longer pedestrian crossing times at the 100 most dangerous intersections in the city.

To fight gridlock, Chow wants to make it more difficult for construction crews to impede traffic, including by issuing fines to contractors who close or block roads when no work is being done. She also proposes beefing up enforcement of existing traffic laws, including those that prohibit idling on busy roads and blocking intersections. Smart traffic signals are another of Chow’s priorities; if elected, she would appoint a traffic liaison co-ordinator in the mayor’s office to work with all parties involved in keeping traffic moving.

Doug Ford

Doug Ford’s plans to improve our ability to get around above ground are summed up in a few concise sentences on his website. He states that he is committed to:

  • Investing in technology to fight gridlock and congestion.
  • Opposing plans to tear down the Gardiner Expressway.
  • Fighting for Toronto’s fair share of federal and provincial infrastructure funding.

He does not elaborate on the technology involved, how much of an investment he’d be fighting for, or what would constitute a “fair share.” The needs of cyclists and pedestrians are not mentioned.

John Tory

The Tory platform proposes a number of non-SmartTrack initiatives to improve transportation in Toronto.

He wants to expand the city’s network of bike lanes, although he has not provided further details except to say they would be placed in “sensible locations.” He also says he’d partner with businesses to build the lanes, along with bike parking and bike sharing programs—an untested strategy that would need to be fleshed out considerably. Streets and TTC stations would get more bike parking, including SmartTrack stations if and when they are built.

Tory promises technology-based solutions to fight gridlock, including intelligent traffic signals that assess the situation at a given intersection and respond accordingly, rather than awaiting direction from a central system. Technologies that allow signals to maximize streetcar and bus efficiency would also be considered. Other proposed anti-congestion measures include improved parking enforcement during rush hours, and a crackdown on construction that blocks traffic lanes for extended periods.

One of Tory’s more peculiar ideas is to commission a study to see how Toronto could make more effective use of Lake Ontario for commuting and day-to-day travel.

See also: