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Week in review: May 13, 2017

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Consultations, feedback, and events

Transit

In his State of the City Address, Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig laments the lack of GO trains to Cambridge via Milton, despite 15 years of advocacy. He sees possibility in using the spur from Guelph to Hespeler and Preston to connect to the Kitchener Line.

Communitech celebrates the ION light rail project as ‘urban planning done right.’ Meanwhile, the Region won’t be joining Metrolinx’s backup plan to purchase light rail vehicles from French manufacturer Alstom, in case Bombardier trains won’t be ready – the train storage and maintenance facilities would need to be rebuilt, and a new order would be years away from delivery. Metrolinx  is buying 61 trains from Alstom, which could lead to a surplus of vehicles if Bombardier eventually follows through on its order of 182 trains, especially now that some of Toronto’s originally planned light rail lines have been cancelled.

Cycling

Bill Bean laments the state of our local bike lanes in springtime, strewn with debris from the winter. That hasn’t stopped 96-year-old Elta Lincoln from riding a bicycle for the first time, via a tandem wheelchair bike.

  • It’s the design guide, stupid – American vs. Dutch cycling infrastructure (LVBLCITY)
  • Cycling revolution in Toronto (Complete Mobility)
  • Bike to work with Mapzen’s updated bike map (Mapzen)
  • Sharrows: shared lane markings for street cyclists may hurt more than help (99% Invisible)
  • Who’s choosing bike sharing over the bus (CityLab)

Vision Zero

Ontario legislators continue to discuss the school zone safety camera bill in committee, but the government has rejected an amendment for school bus cameras, citing the need for further study. The amendment would have allowed for convictions for passing a stopped school bus based on video evidence alone, without requiring witnesses as is the case today.

A new study in the American Journal of Public Health finds that while pedestrian and cyclist deaths have declined over the past few decades in Canada and the US, our progress lags behind that of other developed countries. The study authors credit the better infrastructure and slower streets of European cities for their improved outcomes.

  • New York City seeks the ‘holy grail’ of street design (CityLab)
  • I am a pedestrian and I am an idiot (The Coast)
  • Toronto needs hard infrastructure to produce real Vision Zero results (Metro)

Land use

Upcoming changes to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) may make it impossible to appeal the approval of developments within 500 metres of rapid transit, including light rail and GO stations. This could help growth around light rail, where density is needed to make ridership a success. Other reforms would strengthen the decision-making power of municipal councils and prevent appeals of Official Plans.

TriTAG member Michael Druker looks at the remarkable transformation of the Northdale neighbourhood, situated between the main UW and WLU campuses. It could soon become the Region’s newest downtown area.

  • Ontario’s Greenbelt architect launches defence of anti-sprawl policies (Globe and Mail)
  • Best place for senior centre expansion is Waterloo Memorial Rec Complex, says staff (Waterloo Chronicle)
  • Why can’t Ontario follow its own rules on hospitals? (TVO)
  • Toronto has too much housing, despite overall population growth (Toronto Star)
  • These cities are replacing the worst kind of infrastructure with the best (Fast CoDesign)

The Road Ahead

More work continues on the Highway 7 replacement between Kitchener and Guelph. Columnist Luisa D’Amato hopes that by the time convicted drunk driver Ahmed Darwish gets out of jail, autonomous cars can prevent impaired driving deaths.

  • Making autonomous vehicles work for us (Antoine Belaief, Director, Regional Planning at Metrolinx)
  • Uber opening Toronto research hub for driverless technology (Toronto Star)
  • Even shared, autonomous vehicles could spell traffic disaster (CityLab)
  • Eight bright ideas for driverless cities (CityLab)

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