For most downtown Torontonians, our memories of this weeks horrific Pedestrian death beneath the wheels of the Queen Streetcar are still far too fresh for us to address issues of Pedestrian safety via the major root causes of such dangers such as jaywalking and late intersection crossing. Instead let’s take a step back from the edge of the curb, and walk to the nearest corner, where we can more safely consider the advantages of Mass transit, in reducing traffic congestion, and creating a more livable and sustainable urban ecology for us all.
In a perfect world, we could just build layer after layer of moving space starting with underground subways, and delivery/distribution transport, all the way up to elevated walkways and inter-ramping bikepaths. The reality of our world however dicates that we have limited 2 dimensional roadspace and a prerequisite need for sidewalks at least, if not accompanying dedicated bikepaths.
So unless we can figure out how to automate car travel, or at least make drivers and raffic flow MUCH more intelligent adn responsive, the only other immediately available route to sustainable progress is raisign the density of urban spaces, and getting many more people using mass transit.
The going suggestions are to make Parking much more scarce, raise density with updated zoning and provide more ecological transport options. While cycling will take up some of that need, transit is still the most versatile sustainable transport mode for longer trips, the only one capable of delivering you from one place to another as a pedestrian, unencumbered by a vehicle.
So rather than struggling with congestion that chokes the economy and constrains people’s lives and fills up our arterials with congestion, we would need to look at factors that can reduce surface traffic before our only remaining options for building more transit become entirely too expensive and disruptive…Especcially if there isn’t a high enough density to immediately support their projected usage.
This is a less than vague reference to Mayor Rob Ford’s shortsighted, yet surprisingly bullheaded election promise to build a subway line to Scarborough…
Instead…Let’s take a look at the one factor that few people have been discussing so far. Parking!
SEE: Street Parking…Putting tolls on silent and suburban cars
Dedicated lane opens in Vancouver