Sub-urban transit

 http://spacingtoronto.ca/2010/01/08/fixing-the-suburbs-go-transit-hubs-and-oakville-midtown/

The reason we have day to day traffic... getting people to and from work.  It is the inter-regional traffic that creates the most jams.

I'll say this much.
While politicians talk of residential intesification, what we really need is commercial intensification.

It's fairly easy to ship mass numbers of people from a suburb to a core.  That is not really the issue with traffic.  It's easy to get people to Union station (main part of Toronto).  That's a trivial problem to solve.  Everyone just drives, walks, bikes, busses to their local Go Station (inter-regional rail), and its easy and fairly cost effective.  Now not everyone in Toronto goes to Union Station, but the core idea is the same. As long as people are headed towards concentrated locations, it is an easy problem to solve.

The problem is that businesses are scattered... making it hard to get from the GO Station to where you work.

So building up around GO-Stations is a great idea.  The problem/question is whether or not they will tackle the reason businesses choose to go further and further away... that is property and land costs.  Both of these are issues controlled by government planning.   

Whatever your moralizing, companies are forced to compete and price is a factor.  They don't have the luxury of infinite tax payer funds.  This is especially true of back-office, manufacturing... jobs. 

It is one of the reasons Toronto lost many businesses to Mississauga / Markham / Vaughan... and unfortunately none of those places showed any sense in concentrating their businesses to make it easy to connect to inter-regional transit.

As I look at many sub-urban areas... it really wouldn't take much to get companies to move closer to transit hubs.  Proper zoning, parking garages... would make a world of difference.  I think Markham has done some great work with some of the large employers to get them to move to more appropriate locations.  Heck, give some tax incentives if need be.


Much more work needs to be done to
a) attract companies (especially the large ones) to locate next to transit hubs.  Allocate more commercial land near such hubs lowering the costs
b) gain the trust of business so they know once they move, they won't be hit with heavy taxes...
c) Focus heavily on inter-regional transit.  If you live in a suburb, your best choice is probably to drive around locally.  Don't waste so much money on local transit in a suburb like Oakville.  But focus heavily on inter-regional transit and hubs.  Let the local transit develop naturally as things scale.
d) Focus on getting businesses to the GO-stations.  Funding for new civic buildings, parks... is going to be tough in this economy.

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