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London, ON

Admiral Beez

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Last week I spent Monday to Wednesday driving all around London, ON visiting over forty retailers that carry my brand. And I have to say, London has to have some of the worst transit infrastructure of any non-GTA city I’ve seen. With the possible exception of their brick paved, skid row core, I saw zero separated bike lanes. There were lots of orphan painted bike lanes - you know the sort that start and then stop seemingly randomly, and are never used - the one cyclist I saw those three days rode on the sidewalk. And forget about public transit, I think I saw perhaps a half dozen slowly moving buses over three days. And then there’s the condition of the city’s roads, with huge holes and heaves. And the speed of traffic is very fast, roads signed 50 kph race at nearly 80 kph, facilitated by long, wide four lane roads everywhere. And forget about pedestrian crossings. As an aside, even as a two decade veteran of Toronto downtown east living, I’ve never before experienced beggars and junkies at nearly every four lane intersection - I sense there’s a huge homeless and addiction issue there. I wanted to take the VIA to London instead of driving from Toronto, but the train schedule is unworkable, with trains departing for Toronto either in the middle of the workday or in the evening. I should not be able to drive my own car from/to downtown Toronto faster than a train. I was still willing to do it, as I love train journeys, but I couldn’t get a rental car - there’s a national shortage. London has some pretty spaces, but it’s definitely a car dependent city.
 

robmausser

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London has the worst traffic in Ontario. It’s horrid.
They don't have a highway through the city like Kitchener so you can only take regular streets to get from one side of the city to the other.

And while downtown highways are generally bad for cities for other reasons, theres no other option but to drive there.
 

Haljackey

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Life long Londoner here. I just don't know any better and it's always a breath of fresh air visiting other cities that actually do stuff.

I wouldn't say London is car-centric by choice, it's our only option due to insufficient transit, cycling and walk-ability. We don't even have 'proper' car infrastructure either. No freeways, 6-lane 'stroads', or many through streets. Only a few routes completely cross the city from one end to the other so you are constantly turning left/right on your journey if you aren't on one of these.

That Not Just Bikes guy shows London's struggles quite clearly. We're a do-nothing city. We refuse to widen congested roads, add bike lanes, implement better transit, etc and yet we're one of the fastest growing cities in the country now as a %.

Although small improvements are slowly being made. A half-assed BRT is going in, at-grade rail crossings are being separated, light timings are being looked at, and the city is saying screw you to the NIMBYs and actually building more bike lanes. The improvements are still nowhere close to addressing the current needs of the city, not to mention the projected population increases.

Heck, we can't even merge properly:
 
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ssiguy2

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London traffic has always been the amongst the worst in the country. It has no urban freeways, it's roads are relatively thin, it has no road that goes downtown that actually crosses the city, has 3 legs of the Thames that has to be negotiated, and is a major railway juncture and hence is crissr-crossed by rail lines in nearly all directions. London has always been hell to get around.
The city actually does have a pretty good bike network and they are spending a lot to improve it. The difference is that London's system uses the huge Thames Valley Parkway as it's primary trunk route. It goes into different quadrants of the city but due to being along the Thames which is parkland in all areas means that it is somewhat "out of sight, out of mind". It is very well used but if you are just driving around you would basically never see it.
The transit system, despite it's faults, is actually pretty decent for a city it's size and per-capita ridership levels are higher than Hamilton, KWC, SC/NF, and Windsor. London Transit would blow any US transit system out of the water in a city of a similar size.
The city's SHIFT 24km BRT system is well under construction and will offer 100% electric low floor articulated specially branded buses on their own exclusive ROW, have level boarding at modern new stations with real time arrival boards, offer POP., ticket vending machines at each station, and light signal priority.
 

SaugeenJunction

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London GO (once improved with that $160 million the PCs promised during the campaign) will be wonderful for connecting the forest city to Stratford, Waterloo Region, and Guelph. Also, once sped up and frequencies improved, I’m sure it will be well-used by students. I know I am betraying my better planning instincts but a park and ride GO station between Fanshawe and the Airport would be great.

Pre-pandemic, VIA service wasn’t half bad to the city either. I used it frequently while at Western and was quite happy with it.
 

kEiThZ

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I wouldn't say London is car-centric by choice,

Ummm. This is a choice:

it's our only option due to insufficient transit, cycling and walk-ability.

Look at the rapid transit debate and tell me again how it's not a choice. This is what the people of London want. And it's why they keep electing politicians who give them car-centric infrastructure. This sounds harsh. But it's not just London. Smaller cities in Canada are filled with people who think proper transit, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure is for big metros. Not for them.

I shudder to think how bad London is going to be a decade or two from now. I'm not at all confident that what is being built now will overcome the traffic growth they are going to get from all the SFD subdivisions the city is getting at its edge.
 

Northern Light

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Ummm. This is a choice:



Look at the rapid transit debate and tell me again how it's not a choice. This is what the people of London want. And it's why they keep electing politicians who give them car-centric infrastructure. This sounds harsh. But it's not just London. Smaller cities in Canada are filled with people who think proper transit, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure is for big metros. Not for them.

I shudder to think how bad London is going to be a decade or two from now. I'm not at all confident that what is being built now will overcome the traffic growth they are going to get from all the SFD subdivisions the city is getting at its edge.

Important to contrast this with K-W, where investments have been made in trunk bus services, express services, the ION, lobbying to get GO service, and commitments in the years ahead
to a new Transit Terminal and to the ION extension into Cambridge.

Its far from perfect, but there is a clear commitment in the right direction.
 

EnviroTO

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I grew up in London. The LTC isn't that bad, but could use more bus priority features. Other than the trails along the Thames River biking is pretty scary in London. Cars in London tend not to expect pedestrians or bikes. In downtown Toronto it is natural to look for pedestrians before turning left, but in London pedestrians are so rare that it becomes dangerous to be a pedestrian even when crossing on a walk sign.
 

Haljackey

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Ummm. This is a choice:



Look at the rapid transit debate and tell me again how it's not a choice. This is what the people of London want. And it's why they keep electing politicians who give them car-centric infrastructure. This sounds harsh. But it's not just London. Smaller cities in Canada are filled with people who think proper transit, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure is for big metros. Not for them.

I shudder to think how bad London is going to be a decade or two from now. I'm not at all confident that what is being built now will overcome the traffic growth they are going to get from all the SFD subdivisions the city is getting at its edge.

I... grudgingly agree with you. It's our choice to do nothing, and when there's no alternatives you're going to use car because that is all you have. Even if there are no multi lane roads or freeways, you have to drive by car if there isn't a viable alternative and it's our fault.

I'm always in awe when visiting other cities... even to the point when car-centric infrastructure seems impressive. 6 lane roads, interchanges, double left turns, actual sycronized lights... wow. :D

Important to contrast this with K-W, where investments have been made in trunk bus services, express services, the ION, lobbying to get GO service, and commitments in the years ahead
to a new Transit Terminal and to the ION extension into Cambridge.

Its far from perfect, but there is a clear commitment in the right direction.

Also keep in mind that London is a single tier city. K-W is part of a greater regional municipality. Multiple cities/communities work together for the greater good and they see the mutual benefit this brings. London's councilors are more interested in protecting a constituent's front lawn from getting a sidewalk then caring about an issue on the other side of town that may be way more important.

Could London become a region one day? I dunno... there are not any big cities close by to absorb (St. Thomas is a 20 min drive away on 2 lane country roads, no transit), but I feel we may look at the bigger picture more often if we did.

Perhaps the city limits could be expanded a bit more some day... such as

CHGjfAX.jpeg
 
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ssiguy2

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London is a huge city in sq km but that is due to it annexing a monstrous amount of land south it in the 90s. London comes just shy of bordering St.Thomas. That said, the city has a very strict urban growth boundary and is a medium density city.
Anyone who has ever been to London knows that the city has a huge number of high-rises {over 10 stories} and the most of any metro area anywhere in NA with less than one million.. This is because London has massive amounts of apt towers adding to the city's density. London, unlike many cities, doesn't just have a lot of towers downtown but throughout the city.
London has more buildings over 10 stories than Winnipeg, KWC, Hamilton, Halifax, Cleveland, Cincinnati, San Diego, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Columbus,, Phoenix, Nashville, Memphis, SLC, Kansas City, St.Louis etc etc. This is why London actually enjoy high ridership compared to her Ontario and national peers.
 

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