Posts Tagged: Transit City



When Is A Road Not A Road?

Toronto’s grand LRT scheme, Transit City, appears headed for a premature grave. Almost immediately after assuming his new role as Toronto’s Mayor, Rob Ford declared to the province his intention to kill Transit City and replace it with subway lines.

Toronto media has been ablaze with the story since it hit yesterday, but no one seems to know what to make of it. Does Mr. Ford have the power to unilaterally declare dead a plan that was 8 years in the making? What will the province’s response be? What of Metrolinx, the regional transit planning authority? What of all the money spent on contracts, plans and new Light Rail vehicles?

No one seems to know.

Even staunchly pro-LRT advocate and Toronto transit buff Steve Munro seems lost for words. Says Steve: “Readers who know me well will appreciate that today is not the brightest day in my history of transit advocacy.  It would be easy just to write a bitter rant against the incoming regime.  That would be a waste of time — they won’t read it anyhow.”

Anyone who knows me knows I’ve never been a fan of Transit City, but let’s put that aside. Let’s put the mode choice/technology debate aside for a second.

Ford’s actions concern me. Maybe it’s just for political showmanship, but Ford unilaterally declaring the “war on cars” to be over is ridiculous and dangerous theatre. Whether such a war actually exists or not is besides the point. In Mr. Ford’s world, roads are for cars not people. (This assertion of Ford’s is so universally known in Toronto, it’s almost pointless to link to it, but just in case, check here and here).

So let’s put Transit City, LRT and subway lines to the side and agree on one thing: Roads are most certainly, 100% not just for cars. Maybe it’s just a matter of definition, but roads are also for people, too. People and roads existed for thousands of years before cars did.

History makes clear that roads aren’t just for cars. Roads are also for…

. . . eating . . .

A Chip Wagon Outside Toronto City Hall. Image by flickr user Danielle Scott.

. . . walking . . .

Barcelona's famed pedestrianized Las Ramblas. Image by flickr user Carlos Lorenzo.

. . . playing hockey . . .

Street hockey in Montreal. Image by caribb.

. . . boating . . .

Venice's Grand Canal. Image by flickr user gnuckx.

. . . relaxing . . .

Car Free Day in Vancouver. Image by flickr user thirteencentpinball.

. . . Christmas shopping . . .

Zürich's Bahnhofstrasse. Image by flickr user meckert75.

. . . and anything else you can think of.

Rob Ford had best be careful. Announcing the end of a war that never existed might just start the war he claimed was already over.

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