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Thread: Canada is one sprawly country

  1. #31

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    I'm not sure what the point of the fixation on LA is. LA is the most densely populated urban area in the United States, so it makes sense that Toronto's density isn't much higher. Canadian urban areas are quite a bit more densely populated than American ones on average, but less so than in Europe or Asia. Density has increased, transit has improved, and urban design progress has been made, but our suburbs are still fundamentally car-oriented.


  2. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by denfromoakvillemilton View Post
    Big Bear, Palm Springs, Running Springs.
    Lake arrowhead too

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by MisterF View Post
    I'm not sure what the point of the fixation on LA is. LA is the most densely populated urban area in the United States, so it makes sense that Toronto's density isn't much higher. Canadian urban areas are quite a bit more densely populated than American ones on average, but less so than in Europe or Asia. Density has increased, transit has improved, and urban design progress has been made, but our suburbs are still fundamentally car-oriented.
    I think it comes from disproving the myth. Obviously you know. But is Toronto doing okay. I think, I mean the green belt is okay.
    Quote Originally Posted by UrbanFervour View Post
    Lake arrowhead too
    Yup. shame on me for forgetting the most popular area.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by abcde View Post
    Yes, it is only partly influenced by sprawl - you might even want to say slightly. The real culprits are 1) our weather patterns (compared to the milder climate in the US) and 2) our resource-based industry.

    Toronto is a very dense city, and is getting denser day by day. It is ludicrous to compare it to LA or Miami.
    Not as slightly as you think.

    The Canadian suburban lifestyle is grossly reliant on natural resource exploitation. I know it's hard for people who have lived here all of their lives to grasp how resource-intensive it is, but to most of the world the thought of having to move 2 tons of steel over kilometres whenever you want to get some milk is beyond outrageous.

    This is a graph from the US government showing the main sources of anthropogenic CO2 in the US:



    As you can see transportation is the single biggest slice of the chart. Figures for Canada are very similar.

    But there is more to suburban living than transportation... detached houses are much worse at retaining heat than multi-story multi-unit housing. On my condo, for example, heat that escapes from my the South, West, and North neighbouring units is effectively recycled as mine is warmed up. Likewise, as I warm mine and heat inevitably disperses I'm keeping theirs warm. Ultimately what this means is that during winter all of us need to use a fraction of the heating we'd normally have to use if we lived in detached homes. This effect becomes even more significant when you consider that I also have units on top and below me - thus easing my heat consumption even further. I pay under $70 for hydro in winter as a result, and less than $50 in fall and spring. Even if you factor in the price I pay to heat up and cool down the hallways and amenities at my condo this figure is usually always under $110.

    We spend most of our time inside buildings and moving from one to another. Using less resources to comfortably sit at our desk and move around is absolutely key to sustainability.

  5. #35

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    ^^ thank you RC8 for pointing it out. I can't say it better.

    I always laugh at those "green people" who seem to recycle every piece of paper and every coke tin, always claim to buy "eco-friendly" products, as if they are the only people who care about the earth, yet their 4 person family lives in a 2000sf suburban house made of wood 30 kilometers away from the city center and frequently drive 5 km just to have pizza or buy milk, and their monthly heating bill is like $300. Ironic?

  6. #36

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    If you're talking about avoiding car use, the design of developments is far more important than its density. If a neighbourhood is built around a central shopping and services area (which can but does not have to look like a traditional main street) with an adjacent rapid transit station, then transit and walking will have far higher modal shares than a denser neighbourhood built around arterial intersections and highway interchanges.

    The traditional Toronto suburban subdivision follows the neighbourhood unit principle. The basic building block is the concession road, which becomes the arterial road following suburban development. At the centre of the neighourhood unit are schools and community centres. Businesses and high-density residences are relegated to the edges, along arterial roads. That's also where we site transit infrastructure. It works reasonably well, in many cases, and it's far more successful than more random patterns of development in American suburbs. The European model is different. Everything, including shopping and other businesses, is at the centre of the neighbourhood, with residential densities decreasing as you move outward. The rapid transit station is also at the centre of the neighbourhood, rather than out along the arterial road. This neighbourhood centre could take the form of a traditional shopping street or of a small shopping centre, but either way it includes the basics like a grocery store and pharmacy. The objective is not for everyone to stay in a self-contained neighbourhood; that's why the transit station is there, so that people can conveniently travel to other neighbourhoods or to the central city for shopping, entertainment, or work.

  7. Default

    I've lived in both downtown Toronto and downtown L.A. (well, Pico-Union) and yeah there are some dense suburbs in L.A., but the public transit is horrible. There are some relatively high density nodes but most people don't live in the same area that they work so it just leads to traffic congestion. It doesn't help that there's free parking everywhere. I was the only one I knew who biked to work, ironic that I didn't lock up my bike in the poorest area of downtown LA but it never got stolen but it got stolen the month I got back to T.O. I got my first car just so that I'd be able to get around in LA to visit friends in Pasadena and to go to Santa Monica once in a while. When I got back to Toronto, I didn't know what to do with the car because I could take the TTC everywhere.
    For a more urban Toronto!

    "O Canada, ... Our Home and Native Land, ...True Patriot Love..."

  8. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by vicente View Post
    I've lived in both downtown Toronto and downtown L.A. (well, Pico-Union) and yeah there are some dense suburbs in L.A., but the public transit is horrible. There are some relatively high density nodes but most people don't live in the same area that they work so it just leads to traffic congestion. It doesn't help that there's free parking everywhere. I was the only one I knew who biked to work, ironic that I didn't lock up my bike in the poorest area of downtown LA but it never got stolen but it got stolen the month I got back to T.O. I got my first car just so that I'd be able to get around in LA to visit friends in Pasadena and to go to Santa Monica once in a while. When I got back to Toronto, I didn't know what to do with the car because I could take the TTC everywhere.
    There is often a need for cars, particularly if you want to go north of Steeles Ave, such as Markham and Richmond Hills, just like you need a car to go to Pasadena or Santa Monica, right? Remember LA is about exactly twice as big as Toronto.
    Within the city boundary, I agree that it is easy to get around. Toronto doesn't lack public transit, but lacks RAPID public transit. It takes forever to go from downtown to say north east Scarborough. We are far from being a Manhattan or Paris.

    I lived in both cities too, and one other reason car ownership is high in LA besides necessity is that, it is much more affordable. It easily takes twice or three times the cost to own a car in Toronto than in LA. Many people don't own cars, largely because it is too expensive. Owning a car in Toronto, unlike in Manhattan or Paris, is still more of a convenience than a burden.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by vicente View Post
    I've lived in both downtown Toronto and downtown L.A. (well, Pico-Union) and yeah there are some dense suburbs in L.A., but the public transit is horrible. There are some relatively high density nodes but most people don't live in the same area that they work so it just leads to traffic congestion. It doesn't help that there's free parking everywhere. I was the only one I knew who biked to work, ironic that I didn't lock up my bike in the poorest area of downtown LA but it never got stolen but it got stolen the month I got back to T.O. I got my first car just so that I'd be able to get around in LA to visit friends in Pasadena and to go to Santa Monica once in a while. When I got back to Toronto, I didn't know what to do with the car because I could take the TTC everywhere.
    Once you leave the former city, you need a car.

  10. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by denfromoakvillemilton View Post
    Once you leave the former city, you need a car.
    quite right.
    Despite the amalgamation, Toronto's transit infrastructure is only sufficient for the former city with 1 million people. There is the rest of the suburbs where you most likely need a car to have a decent life, unless you live just by Yonge st.

    Scarbrough, Etobicoke, and 90% of North York are still the typical car dependent LA-like cities where without a car life cn be difficult. Even in the old city, people can't really reply on the 501 to get anywhere if they live off the more central areas.

  11. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by kkgg7 View Post
    Even in the old city, people can't really reply on the 501 to get anywhere if they live off the more central areas.
    ??? That makes no sense. More people use on 501, 502, 503, 504, 505, and 506, than the entire GO Train network. The 509 Spadina alone moves more people everyday than the entire GO Bus network. More people rely on TTC streetcars than GO.

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by kkgg7 View Post
    quite right.
    Despite the amalgamation, Toronto's transit infrastructure is only sufficient for the former city with 1 million people. There is the rest of the suburbs where you most likely need a car to have a decent life, unless you live just by Yonge st.

    Scarbrough, Etobicoke, and 90% of North York are still the typical car dependent LA-like cities where without a car life cn be difficult. Even in the old city, people can't really reply on the 501 to get anywhere if they live off the more central areas.
    So true. You live at Hwy 27 and Finch, One bus that is packed. Only York and East york have semi decent transit and even then the subway is 10-15mins from the Central part of either of those places.

  13. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by nfitz View Post
    ??? That makes no sense. More people use on 501, 502, 503, 504, 505, and 506, than the entire GO Train network. The 509 Spadina alone moves more people everyday than the entire GO Bus network. More people rely on TTC streetcars than GO.
    I don't disagree with you.
    What I was trying to convey is the streetcars and buses don't fully satisfy the transportation needs of Torontonians. It is the subways and LRTs that really count in comparing the transit systems across large cities.

  14. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by kkgg7 View Post
    What I was trying to convey is the streetcars and buses don't fully satisfy the transportation needs of Torontonians. It is the subways and LRTs that really count in comparing the transit systems across large cities.
    Subways don't really help me get across such a large city. Doesn't get me to Oakville. Doesn't get me to Newmarket. Doesn't get me to Milton.

    And I'm not sure why you are saying that LRT and buses don't fully satisfy the transportation needs ... but LRTs really count. Seems inconsistent to me.

  15. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by nfitz View Post
    Subways don't really help me get across such a large city. Doesn't get me to Oakville. Doesn't get me to Newmarket. Doesn't get me to Milton.

    And I'm not sure why you are saying that LRT and buses don't fully satisfy the transportation needs ... but LRTs really count. Seems inconsistent to me.
    I never consider 501, 505 etc as LRT. They are just regular buses with tracks and cables, which can't turn back when necessary. They are by means rapid transit. Actually they are often slower than buses or even bicycles.

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