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Congestion taxes?

isittimetomoveyet

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Im just curious if anyone here supports the idea for part or part(s) of Toronto?

In cities that have implemented, such as London, or more recently Stockholm, there is generally opposition to the idea prior to launch. Afterwards however, there are generally high levels of acceptance and moreover, people actually love it. The streets are quieter, cleaner, slower. People can breathe.

I also think that Toronto should look at reclaiming certain lanes on certain streets to install more room to walk, and sit, enjoy someone's company etc. The city could plant lots of trees and foliage, so the particular street could be beautified as well. Maybe not my particular idea, but the vision akin to European cities where people are king of the streets, and not the cars. I think we need a fundamental shift in this regard.
 

RedRocket191

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Im just curious if anyone here supports the idea for part or part(s) of Toronto?

In cities that have implemented, such as London, or more recently Stockholm, there is generally opposition to the idea prior to launch. Afterwards however, there are generally high levels of acceptance and moreover, people actually love it. The streets are quieter, cleaner, slower. People can breathe.

I also think that Toronto should look at reclaiming certain lanes on certain streets to install more room to walk, and sit, enjoy someone's company etc. The city could plant lots of trees and foliage, so the particular street could be beautified as well. Maybe not my particular idea, but the vision akin to European cities where people are king of the streets, and not the cars. I think we need a fundamental shift in this regard.

You've got a supporter here in that I believe everything should be on the table.
 

PukeGreen

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It's an idea worth exploring, but it would need to be done carefully. Namely:

Is Toronto enough of a business center that people will revert to other modes of transit to head downtown to work? Or will more large companies simply avoid the city altogether and move to the burbs, where there is poorer public transit, and hence defeat the purpose and simply encourage more car use?

If we are going to officially discourage cars, is there a reasonable alternative in place? As it is, the GO and TTC seem barely able to handle current ridership loads. It seems to me that before we force people out of their cars, we need to make sure there is a good alternative in place already or the plan will generate so much anger it would set us back decades.
 

Irishmonk

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I support them, but I think of them more as user fees than taxes. Users of public transit have to pay so why not drivers? (I don't drive, btw:D)
 

vicente

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Yes...





...after we have subway lines on Jane, Dufferin, Bathurst, Eglinton West & East, Victoria Park Ave., McCowan, Sheppard East and West to Jane, and Queen St., and < 5 min daytime frequencies on all bus routes in the 416.

Until then, NO.
 

BobBob

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A bunch of LRT and a bit of subway extension is probably sufficient for the 416 to be reasonably served by transit. GO needs to change into a true regional rail system, with high frequencies and reliability. In conjuction with these efforts, we should definitely consider measures to discourage car use.

To change people's behaviour, you need a carrot and a stick.
 

TrickyRicky

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While I don't dismiss the idea I don't really see the point of implementing this in Toronto now. What for? If it is to be a revenue generation tool I think the implementation of highway tolling throughout the GTA is a step that should precede discussion of congestion charging by decades. Toronto suffers from commuter congestion but this is a regional phenomenon, the fact is that the city and specifically the downtown core just isn't all that congested by international standards. Basically moving from point to point in the region and even point to point downtown where our highest concentration of alternative transportation options exist is still faster by car. Until this basic equation changes (through improvements in alternatives like transit and more motor vehicle traffic) talk of congestion charging is pre-mature.
 

isittimetomoveyet

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Well, when I was writing the thread I thought about including the whole of the GTA as well but decided against it.

I do believe though that in order to make all things equal, we should see some tolls on the major highways in the GTA as well. As was said, we dont want this to take place as a detriment to Toronto, rather as a means of financing more transit projects, and enhancing the city.
 

afransen

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I think you'll find that highway tolling done at a reasonable level (at least at first) -- say 25 cents a kilometer on average -- will raise substantial revenue for rapid and significant improvement, without being a debilitating to the economy as people suggest. I actually see this as being similar to the hotel tax that hotel operators literally begged for, promoting tourism through Tourism Toronto. Many businesses in the region (ask the Toronto Board of Trade) tell us that congestion and slow transportation is a major competitive disadvantage for Toronto. They would likely welcome a gradually introduced tolling regime.
 

Chuck

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Tolls should be utilized as a means of discouraging certain behviours, rather than as a revenue generating tool. Funding for transportation projects should come from upper levels of government, and not by slapping additional "taxes" on certain residents of the GTA only. That's how taxation works in this country - everyone pays taxes, everyone benefits from funding.

Once the upper levels of government have built a transit system that is attractive and convenient, then we can implement road tolls and use the tolls for projects that would never receive funding from upper levels of government in the first place. Examples would be tree planting, streetscape improvements, cultural/tourist attractions, etc.
 

TrickyRicky

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Chuck, I think tolls should be implemented both as a revenue tool and to initiate behaviour change.

"That's how taxation works in this country - everyone pays taxes, everyone benefits from funding."

This is actually not how I would characterize the tax system at all. The primary purpose of the taxation system is a redistribution of funding, so taxing drivers to pay for transit for instance is entirely consistent.
 

BUGEYEDBRIT

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Im just curious if anyone here supports the idea for part or part(s) of Toronto?

In cities that have implemented, such as London, or more recently Stockholm, there is generally opposition to the idea prior to launch. Afterwards however, there are generally high levels of acceptance and moreover, people actually love it. The streets are quieter, cleaner, slower. People can breathe.

I also think that Toronto should look at reclaiming certain lanes on certain streets to install more room to walk, and sit, enjoy someone's company etc. The city could plant lots of trees and foliage, so the particular street could be beautified as well. Maybe not my particular idea, but the vision akin to European cities where people are king of the streets, and not the cars. I think we need a fundamental shift in this regard.


I used to live in London and can say catagorically no-one 'loves' the congestion charge, its a fairly blunt tool which comes across more as a jealousy tax than a useful measure to restrict car movements:

The scheme was supposed to be self financing, which to a degree it is, but only because the penalty charges issued are supporting the whole edifice, but then the scheme was also designed to make it difficult to actually pay the congestion charge, thereby making many more liable for a 'fine' for non payment.

This will make you laugh as well, how come, if the congestion zone and charges are all about reducing traffic, is a toyota prius allowed to enter the zone charge free, while an equally large VW Jetta, has to pay 8 quid??

There will always be a hard core of drivers to whom any kind of fee is not going to be an issue, as clearly, they are already high earners anyway, and don't much care about the charges.

Toronto already does more than London, you have school busses that eliminate much of the school run traffic, what other ways of reducing traffic are there, other than simply charging people ??
 

jeicow

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Until there are better alternatives put in place, it'd really just be seen as a money grab (which it likely would be since everything into the core is already at capacity).

I think the big question is where would the money raised by it go? You'd have an easier time selling that it should go towards enhancing roads/highways in the core, and that the funding would only go directly to that. The tolls that were on the Burlington Skyway to pay off its debt comes to mind in this case. Saying that it should go to public transit would likely be a tougher sell considering the fact that people will say it should be supporting itself, and that a good chunk of gas tax is already going towards it.

It'd be interesting to see which area most drivers actually work at, since from personal experience, I'd say the majority of the core workers are already GO/TTC users whereas it's the more far flung workers (ie. east of Sherbourne) that end up doing the drive.
 

jeicow

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I think that asks a really good question. What would be the ultimate GOAL of the congestion tax in Toronto?

The original post said,
The streets are quieter, cleaner, slower. People can breathe.
which implies to me fewer cars. Let's say that this whole thing is implimented, but instead of people switching to public transit, every single person just goes on as normal and pays the fee. So what then, raise the fee again and again until there's an "acceptable" number of cars in the core? This situation is likely unrealistic but until there's a clear goal of what a congestion tax is suppose to accomplish I think that no one will really be onside.

I find it interesting too that the article also mentions how London's planned exemption for cars that produce less than 120 g/km from the increase fee resulted in sales soaring. Now the possibly renagging of that offer in the New Year by Transport London due to the unexpected number of drivers looking for the exmeption would be a kick in the balls for London's congestion zone ever being used as an example. Hopefully things sort themselves out over there but until there's a clearly stated goal for what a congestion fee wants to accomplish, I'm still on the fence about it.
 

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