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Planned Sprawl in the GTA

The only reason the greenbelt removals died is because it became a political hot potato with improper political meddling behind it. If the PCs had done a proper process on the removals (i.e. an open call for removal requests, a few months of evaluation, then a removals list) instead of just a bombshell dropping of a list of a select few properties - the decision would still stand.

The 413 is not a political bombshell - quite the contrary - it's a well backed infrastructure project with an immense amount of research, backing of provincial transportation staff, long term infrastructure forecasts indicate its need, etc. The cancellation of the 413 in the Liberal era is the political move - much like the greenbelt removals are the political move in 2023.

The thing is that the PCs with a bit more foresight could have done the greenbelt removals with decent justification and opponents would have had little to stand on. Their rushing of the process, and the improprieties which occurred as a result, instead threaten to take the whole government down. Literally a few extra months of review, a bit of extra staff time, and an open call of removal requests could have completely sidelined the entire scandal - and even if a few developers did have closer-than-they-should relationships with the MMAH, those removals could have been better slipped through with a proper process which didn't raise any eyebrows.
Let's not forget that the 413 also has a lot of research that indicates that it is not necessary, and only after the new government came in, did new 'research' come to light...
 
Let's not forget that the 413 also has a lot of research that indicates that it is not necessary, and only after the new government came in, did new 'research' come to light...
Not really - most of the justification research was done in the 2011-2013 time frame. It’s all posted on the 413 website if you want to read it. Pretty extensive studies looking at growth and travel patterns in the GTA, including transit expansion, etc.

It was canceled because of environmental lobbying pressures, not actual studies produced by the government.

Doug has made it a political tool, clearly, but the highway isn’t his idea - it’s been around for a long time and started in high level MTO studies.

Going even further back, Peel Region actually completed an EA on a municipal freeway along the west side of Brampton in the mid 2000’s from what I recall. The idea and it’s justification has been around for a long time.
 
Not really - most of the justification research was done in the 2011-2013 time frame. It’s all posted on the 413 website if you want to read it. Pretty extensive studies looking at growth and travel patterns in the GTA, including transit expansion, etc.

It was canceled because of environmental lobbying pressures, not actual studies produced by the government.

Doug has made it a political tool, clearly, but the highway isn’t his idea - it’s been around for a long time and started in high level MTO studies.

Going even further back, Peel Region actually completed an EA on a municipal freeway along the west side of Brampton in the mid 2000’s from what I recall. The idea and it’s justification has been around for a long time.
Research changes, it's no longer considered good transportation planning policy to put highways everywhere. I could make similar arguments about the freeways that Robert Moses pushed for in New York, using the research at the time.

There are still a few of the old guard (particularly traffic engineers) holding on, but amongst myself and my colleagues (of all different ages), you'd be hard pressed to find a transportation planner that would agree with that. We would put into question the methodology of those past reports in the context of the current world and the world that we want to plan for.
 
Research changes, it's no longer considered good transportation planning policy to put highways everywhere. I could make similar arguments about the freeways that Robert Moses pushed for in New York, using the research at the time.

There are still a few of the old guard (particularly traffic engineers) holding on, but amongst myself and my colleagues (of all different ages), you'd be hard pressed to find a transportation planner that would agree with that. We would put into question the methodology of those past reports in the context of the current world and the world that we want to plan for.
The research has not changed, politics and attitudes have. I’ve said this before, but in the context of a highway system and it’s needs, the 413 is a necessary component if growth continues. It’s not like it’s just a line on a map. Now if it’s good policy is another question. It’s important not to conflate these things, because there’s a big difference between “it’s a bad idea because it’s bad policy” and “because it isn’t useful”. It’s certainly useful. It’s just not a good policy to do what we normally do around highways on the 413. To get my point, sub out the 413 for the Ontario Line. We need the Ontario Line to relieve lines 1 & 2, the new MTSAs are just extra cake. This is an extreme example, but it’s more like a green apple to a red one. Transport is transport, land use is land use.


I came here actually to ask a question about the greenbelt and how it works in light of recent developments. Do municipalities have the power to change the greenbelt? That is, can they expand urban boundaries into it? I know ‘towns’ can do this, but York Region seems to facilitate this where it appears it’s supposed to be led by the community itself. Likewise they consistently consider expansion along Hwy 400/404. Is it within their power to do this? And if so, why? Why beat around the bush and leave something designated “protected” if it’s all but in name? How much integrity does the greenbelt actually have if this is the case?
 
The research has not changed, politics and attitudes have. I’ve said this before, but in the context of a highway system and it’s needs, the 413 is a necessary component if growth continues. It’s not like it’s just a line on a map. Now if it’s good policy is another question. It’s important not to conflate these things, because there’s a big difference between “it’s a bad idea because it’s bad policy” and “because it isn’t useful”. It’s certainly useful. It’s just not a good policy to do what we normally do around highways on the 413. To get my point, sub out the 413 for the Ontario Line. We need the Ontario Line to relieve lines 1 & 2, the new MTSAs are just extra cake. This is an extreme example, but it’s more like a green apple to a red one. Transport is transport, land use is land use.


I came here actually to ask a question about the greenbelt and how it works in light of recent developments. Do municipalities have the power to change the greenbelt? That is, can they expand urban boundaries into it? I know ‘towns’ can do this, but York Region seems to facilitate this where it appears it’s supposed to be led by the community itself. Likewise they consistently consider expansion along Hwy 400/404. Is it within their power to do this? And if so, why? Why beat around the bush and leave something designated “protected” if it’s all but in name? How much integrity does the greenbelt actually have if this is the case?
I disagree, the research has changed. As a result, methodologies change, attitudes change, mindsets change. Different methodologies bring different results, the reports that I write today, and the traffic analysis that I do today is different than the reports that I read from the past.

That is what science is, looking at the most current research. Science changes and we need to change with it.

Transport and land use has been separate for far too long. Analyzing them together is the emerging best practice. Otherwise you get situations where you build density along Highway 7 and think people are going to walk to places.
 
The research has not changed, politics and attitudes have. I’ve said this before, but in the context of a highway system and it’s needs, the 413 is a necessary component if growth continues. It’s not like it’s just a line on a map. Now if it’s good policy is another question. It’s important not to conflate these things, because there’s a big difference between “it’s a bad idea because it’s bad policy” and “because it isn’t useful”. It’s certainly useful. It’s just not a good policy to do what we normally do around highways on the 413. To get my point, sub out the 413 for the Ontario Line. We need the Ontario Line to relieve lines 1 & 2, the new MTSAs are just extra cake. This is an extreme example, but it’s more like a green apple to a red one. Transport is transport, land use is land use.

See @adys123 comments above.

But let me add; if you add a highway at edge of the urban area, particularly absent any other policy intervention, development, generally in the form of sprawl will follow.

We know this, locally, without academic papers, because this happened with the 401 and 407, with the 410 extension, with the 404 extension etc.

IF you don't want sprawl, then that would be a peculiar choice.

***

Additionally, you absolutely have to tie land-use to transportation; let me afford a hypothetical example:

So lets say you want to create a relatively walkable, transit-friendly community at the edge of suburbia.

How do you start?

Well, you start by saying where are the people who will live here likely to commute to? Then, how will they make that commute?

You would reference the nearest built up areas for cordon count surveys and origin-desitination pairs and you would establish (for argument's sake), these people will want to commute to Downtown Brampton, more than any other destination.

So you then need to ask, how will they get there? Is there a train line nearby? Does it offer passenger service, does it go where you need it to go, is there a station positioned where your community will go? If not, can you add one?

***

Once you've addressed commute patterns, you need to address non-work trips. (School, and Grocery being the two most common).

You need to know if the density of your proposed community will support frequent bus service to the school and grocery store and to the train station.

If that can't be achieved, then you're very constrained on meeting your goal; but it might be feasible if the entire community were within a 10 minute walk of the train station, and the grocery store and school within a block of same.

****

Put simply the way in which you site and build a community, or infrastructure is key to its success or failure in general, and equally key to sustainability.

I came here actually to ask a question about the greenbelt and how it works in light of recent developments. Do municipalities have the power to change the greenbelt? That is, can they expand urban boundaries into it?

No, they can request the province to make that change.

I know ‘towns’ can do this, but York Region seems to facilitate this where it appears it’s supposed to be led by the community itself.

Towns cannot do this. Neither can regions; they can submit a request to the province.

Likewise they consistently consider expansion along Hwy 400/404. Is it within their power to do this?

Who considers this? Those are provincial highways, and their expansion is solely within the control of the province. A region or city may well be aware of the MTO's future plans for widenings, and can certainly offer input, but they have no statutory control.

And if so, why? Why beat around the bush and leave something designated “protected” if it’s all but in name? How much integrity does the greenbelt actually have if this is the case?

The Greenbelt legislation does not expressly limit new/expanded highway corridors.

They did that, in part, because many of these new/widened highways were contemplated prior to the Greenbelt, and corridor had been reserved, and/or purchased sometime before.

They also left large areas outside of the Greenbelt that are within the GTA commuter shed.

Would I prefer they had placed real limits on new/expanded highway corridors? Sure, yes; but to be clear, any such limit would be a provincial law, which any future government could amend or repeal.

With the exception of laws embedded in or limited by the Constitution, nothing is beyond being altered, except by the limitations of politics.
 
I disagree, the research has changed. As a result, methodologies change, attitudes change, mindsets change. Different methodologies bring different results, the reports that I write today, and the traffic analysis that I do today is different than the reports that I read from the past.

That is what science is, looking at the most current research. Science changes and we need to change with it.

Transport and land use has been separate for far too long. Analyzing them together is the emerging best practice. Otherwise you get situations where you build density along Highway 7 and think people are going to walk to places.
See @adys123 comments above.

But let me add; if you add a highway at edge of the urban area, particularly absent any other policy intervention, development, generally in the form of sprawl will follow.

We know this, locally, without academic papers, because this happened with the 401 and 407, with the 410 extension, with the 404 extension etc.

IF you don't want sprawl, then that would be a peculiar choice.

***

Additionally, you absolutely have to tie land-use to transportation; let me afford a hypothetical example:

So lets say you want to create a relatively walkable, transit-friendly community at the edge of suburbia.

How do you start?

Well, you start by saying where are the people who will live here likely to commute to? Then, how will they make that commute?

You would reference the nearest built up areas for cordon count surveys and origin-desitination pairs and you would establish (for argument's sake), these people will want to commute to Downtown Brampton, more than any other destination.

So you then need to ask, how will they get there? Is there a train line nearby? Does it offer passenger service, does it go where you need it to go, is there a station positioned where your community will go? If not, can you add one?

***

Once you've addressed commute patterns, you need to address non-work trips. (School, and Grocery being the two most common).

You need to know if the density of your proposed community will support frequent bus service to the school and grocery store and to the train station.

If that can't be achieved, then you're very constrained on meeting your goal; but it might be feasible if the entire community were within a 10 minute walk of the train station, and the grocery store and school within a block of same.

****

Put simply the way in which you site and build a community, or infrastructure is key to its success or failure in general, and equally key to sustainability.



No, they can request the province to make that change.



Towns cannot do this. Neither can regions; they can submit a request to the province.



Who considers this? Those are provincial highways, and their expansion is solely within the control of the province. A region or city may well be aware of the MTO's future plans for widenings, and can certainly offer input, but they have no statutory control.



The Greenbelt legislation does not expressly limit new/expanded highway corridors.

They did that, in part, because many of these new/widened highways were contemplated prior to the Greenbelt, and corridor had been reserved, and/or purchased sometime before.

They also left large areas outside of the Greenbelt that are within the GTA commuter shed.

Would I prefer they had placed real limits on new/expanded highway corridors? Sure, yes; but to be clear, any such limit would be a provincial law, which any future government could amend or repeal.

With the exception of laws embedded in or limited by the Constitution, nothing is beyond being altered, except by the limitations of politics.
What I’m referring to are a handful of reports highlighting potential future employment lands along these highways which are clearly within the ORMCP. In short, you answered my question that these are directed to the province. I thought that perhaps the towns/cities had jurisdiction to expand their boundaries themselves because of this. There are also many inconsistencies I’ve noticed between OPs and the greenbelt designation elsewhere.

For this and the 413, I’ll provide images and return with a more fulsome explanation. In lieu of that for now, my belief is that not building a highway because of fears of land use alteration is, under a long term economic view, missing the forest for the trees. A highway might be bad practice, but stifling the efficient movement of goods is decidedly worse. So, the conversation cannot be of if we build infrastructure to do this; it necessarily must be of what and how.
 
For this and the 413, I’ll provide images and return with a more fulsome explanation. In lieu of that for now, my belief is that not building a highway because of fears of land use alteration is, under a long term economic view, missing the forest for the trees. A highway might be bad practice, but stifling the efficient movement of goods is decidedly worse. So, the conversation cannot be of if we build infrastructure to do this; it necessarily must be of what and how.

You can move goods efficiently in a number of ways, depending on where they are originating and destined for......

I''m not persuaded that this new highway will achieve much in that regard.

If the goods in question are not destined locally but are long-distance trade items passing through the GTA its entirely possible they might be able to be moved by freight rail.

If the goods are destined locally and rail is not a practical option, then space on highways can be created by penalizing passenger car drivers through tolls.

I would never rule out the option of a new segment of highway in the GTA entirely; but the costs both financial and environmental of building them are high, and I think there are more cost effective and less harmful ways to meet logistical goals.
 
Another clash of industrial vs. residential interests, this time closer to home.


UT project thread here:


With Bonnie Crombie how vacating her role as mayor, the Misissauga mayoral by-election could be a big battle between pro and anti-development sides.
 
With Bonnie Crombie how vacating her role as mayor, the Misissauga mayoral by-election could be a big battle between pro and anti-development sides.

I await your candidate lists, analysis, polling data, and links to all platforms...........in an appropriate thread, of course. ;)
 
This doesn't have anything to do with the GTA, nor even sprawl. Just saying.
They moved away from sprawl (catering to the car) to a more pedestrian layout increased business revenue and tax revenue. The street is no longer a want-to-be expressway that allows motorists to speed quickly through, but a destination to stop at.

Should be copied for Avenue Road, for example. Maybe a change for Danforth Avenue, if we no longer have a Taste of the Danforth. Maybe other stroads in Toronto.
 
They moved away from sprawl (catering to the car) to a more pedestrian layout increased business revenue and tax revenue. The street is no longer a want-to-be expressway that allows motorists to speed quickly through, but a destination to stop at.

Should be copied for Avenue Road, for example. Maybe a change for Danforth Avenue, if we no longer have a Taste of the Danforth. Maybe other stroads in Toronto.

Funny how your ability to tangent bares a strong resemblance to a former regular poster here.............

****

There are already plans for Avenue Road which you apparently missed. Toronto City staff are not so obtuse as you have everyone believe.
 
There is a local on line newsletter stating that the Ford government will revoke 8 previously approved MZO orders and will ‘monitor’ 14 others. I do not have a list but gather they are not all located In Toronto, but include the greater GTA area.
 

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