Resilient Cities

Toronto, Leslie Street Spit

The Guardian Newspaper is currently doing a series on resilient cities. Examining all angles that come to together to make cities resilient. I urge you take a read at some of the articles they have.

Here is an introductory article on what makes cities resilient: What makes a city resilient?

Read more: Resilient Cities Series 

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Climate Change Urban

Issues that Cities Should Address

Construction

Recently, the Globe and Mail published an article on The Five Things All Canadian Cities Should Stop Ignoring. The article was straight to the point stating there are various issues that cities must address. It mentions affordable housing, reform to way in which cities deliver services, infrastructure and resiliency.

Cities need to plan for resiliency, in the past years we have seen how climate change has severely affected cities and how they function. From extreme flooding to extreme heat. Cities now have to think how to plan with these issues in mind.

Infrastructure is another issue cities need to focus on. Most of the infrastructure and development plans for Ontario are only short term solutions to long-term problems. Just masking these problems will continue to cost an enormous amount of money in the long-run. For example, the continual patch work of the Gardiner Expressway instead actually fixing the root of the problem. City officials need to sit down and consult with professionals on how to solve these issues.

Another point is, with the changing of municipal government, there needs to be a set “playlist” so that these plans for infrastructure and development are not changed or canceled and rebooted every other four years.

Finally, it is important to mention the “T Word”, taxes. Taxes are something that we have become to fear in North America. However, we tend to forget the importance of them. If there are no taxes in place, it is next impossible to solve these various issues, without cutting or reducing other important programs. We need to remind residents where the money from their taxes goes and the importance of it.

If cities are able to address this issues it may be possible to have much more sustainable and prosperous communities.

Image by: Trevor Haldenby

Politics

Commuter Rail can be as effective as Rapid Transit

Go Transit

The topic of using existing commuter rail lines in GTA has been brought into discussion a few times. With politicians bringing ideas to solve transit woes in the GTA and in Toronto by creating a Downtown Relief Line or One City Transit Plan, all of which that incorporate existing rail lines. They are on to something.

                     

Adding specialized TTC Trains or by having special Go Trains running frequently at peak times could help solve some of the transit woes face by downtown Toronto and the GTA. Instead of investing cost and labour into new infrastructure it would be feasible to work with the existing infrastructure to improve it.

At the moment most trains on the GO Line operate in the early morning and in the afternoon, brining workers into and out of the city. With a few lines offering all-day service. What should be done, is turning all lines into all-day service. This would eventually lead towards having a rapid-transit system on the rail line.

More importantly, having a rapid transit system on the rail, commuters would be able to choose between taking the TTC or the GO. This would hopefully reduce some of the stress on the TTC subway lines.

This idea is not far off and could actually be done with the correct investment and planning. I suggest you take a look at this article Make the effort, and commuter rail can be as effective as rapid transit ,which provides more detail on this topic.

Read More: The case for a Regional Transit Line

Read More: The OneCity Plan and Shifting Transit Landscape

Image by: Nathan Colquhoun

Urban