Week in review: May 27, 2017

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Consultations, feedback, and events

More on high speed rail

Reactions to the province’s high speed rail pledge abound. Brampton advocates feel left out by a train that would pass through but not stop in their city, and worry about its impact on future regional express rail service. Other transit advocates like Sean Marshall and Steve Munro propose improvements to existing tracks and services first.

Toronto Star columnist Martin Regg Cohn explains how the high speed rail focus has switched from Toronto-Montreal to Toronto-Kitchener-London because only the latter might have the economic potential to support it. Michael Schabas, author of the province’s 2014 high speed rail study agrees, and adds that the volume of trips on the corridor would give trains the frequency they need for success.

Intensification and development

As the New York Times touts transit hubs as the next big thing in real estate development, the Region seeks developers to help build its multi-modal transit hub in downtown Kitchener.

Outside the core, the financial unsustainability of sprawl could be getting worse, as big box stores appeal their property value assessments, leaving municipalities on the hook to refund property taxes retroactively. Beyond the initial shock, this could mean low-density retail, already costing our municipalities more in terms of infrastructure and subsidies for services like transit, would be pulling even less of its own weight.

TriTAG member Michael Druker recommends up-zoning entire neighbourhoods, as was done in Northdale, as a means of building community buy-in to intensification and spreading out development pressures. Meanwhile, Globe and Mail columnist Doug Sanders decries the uniquely Canadian bias against condo and apartment living, arguing we need more families living in multi-unit dwellings to escape a housing crisis.

  • Obsession with home ownership driving affordability crisis, report finds (The Star)
  • How builders, city planners are trying to create more family-friendly condos (CBC)
  • Doing something real about gentrification and displacement (Dan Savage)
  • Gentrification, for better and worse (Todd Litman)
  • Parking & Prejudice & Zombies: the misunderstood importance of parking in an autonomous future (SafeSelfDrive)

Vision Zero

  • A near miss: how cities are misinterpreting the safety of streets for bicyclists and pedestrians (SSTI)
  • Street fight: Vancouver engineers get more power with bylaw change (Metro)
  • Hi-viz clothing has no impact on driver passing distances (Cycling Today)

Gender and transportation


Transit and ride-sharing

  • The receding fantasy of affordable urban transit “to your door” (Human Transit)
  • Uber wants in to public transit. Cities should proceed with caution (Macleans)
  • Unless we share them, self-driving vehicles will just make traffic worse (Vox)