There are wonderful ideas here, but in my opinion far too much emphasis on costly building of infra and not enough on tying land use (density) to transportation investments and encouraging better use of existing resources (through mobility pricing) or looking at ways to reduce demand (promotion of remote work, off-peak travel, encouraging mode shift).
It's not about highways versus transit versus walk/bike infra (active transportation), but more about thinking first about low or no cost, and low or negative GHG-emission solutions to the problems of congestion: building a highway or a transit line costs money and generates emissions, but (for example) implementing a HOT lane is revenue-neutral and still leads to improvements in travel time and overall access. It's not that the latter form of intervention are not addressed in the discussion paper, but rather that they seem to be presented as secondary to the big-ticket item construction projects.
Case in point, wonderful that Active transportation and TDM are discussed, as is the move to e-service delivery and the potential lasting impacts of the pandemic (road diets in a roundabout way), but everything related to Access seems to come last, whereas Mobility comes first (new roads, added lanes and transit infra), followed by less defined statements about Access, demand management and equity.
MTO should be more ambitious in addressing the changing landscape of transportation in their high-level plans. Politicians will push for new infra because that’s how politics works, but MTO’s Vision shouldn’t be articulated around such promises if we recognize it’s detrimental to the long-term sustainability (economic and environmental) of the region. Let’s boldly Talk the talk and then we can Walk the walk.
Page 7: “robust measures were developed based on public input on goals, and these measures were used to evaluate solutions” -> What are these measures?
Page 11: disappointing that the items related to delivery of infra have Action verbs (Delivering, Expanding, Establishing), but on demand management it's a much weaker "Exploring options". Signals it is not a priority and may well not happen.
Same for safe movement and mobility irrespective of mode: why is this last?
P19: e-services from MTO is nice, but insufficient. Bottlenecks aren't created by persons wanting to renew their licenses at Service Ontario help desks. Will Ontario gvt push to make remote work possible for all Ontarians? THAT would have an impact on demand for travel on the network.
Most of the elements are there, but what is put up front is an emphasis on building instead of smarter, better utilized, more sustainable transportation.
“Land use” not mentioned until page 23, when discussing Strategic Goods Movement Network. Density only mentioned once, in the explainer of what Transit Oriented Communities mean. Nothing about pushing for more development around proposed road links, only the notion of exploring TOC for new transit projects. If we stay reactive or just keep trying to build roads to solve congestion, we will fail to reduce emissions and perpetually be struck with costly congestion.
Submitted July 12, 2021 1:51 PM
Greater Golden Horseshoe Transportation Plan – Discussion Paper
Commenting on behalf of