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Toronto’s Bloor-Danforth subway corridor is a land use crime scene

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Yesterday after my post on leveraging LRT, I stumbled upon an interesting and timely article written by Richard Joy, who is the Executive Director of the Urban Land Institute (Toronto).

The article talks about some of the transit-oriented development that we’ve seen at various nodes along Toronto’s Yonge subway corridor (St. Clair, Eglinton, Sheppard, and so on). But it goes on to argue that these are exceptions to the rule. For the most part, we’ve missed the boat:

The tragic history of our massive capital investments into transit infrastructure is massive under-development.

Indeed, the Bloor-Danforth subway corridor is a land use crime scene.

His main argument is that until we expand the supply of transit-oriented land (through increased intensification), we will continue to undersupply the kinds of walkable and transit-oriented neighborhoods that many, if not most, people actually prefer. And that, out of necessity, will force people into their cars. Because affordability trumps location preference.

As one example, he talks about the intersection of Bloor Street and Dundas Street in the west end of the city. Next to Union Station, this is probably the best connected mobility hub in the region. You have the Bloor-Danforth subway line, a streetcar line, and a GO regional rail line which all feed into it. Next year it’ll also become a stop for the new express train to Pearson airport.

And yet the city has a history of opposing intensification in this location, including the old Giraffe Condominiums proposed by TAS. Does that make sense to you?

Image: Flickr

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