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Roads: GTA West Corridor—Highway 413—Guelph to 400

Rainforest

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I think we need to move away from the concession model (plowing the grid roads through ravines/river valleys like they aren't there) and build a road network and communities that work with the natural landscape. That would ameliorate the walkability impact of natural landscapes if we are leaving them as boundaries between communities. And the idea that all the density goes on the arterial is kind of a crazy model we have developed in North America. Arterials are roads designed to optimize for flow, and they serve a role in the urban fabric. A road designed for flow cannot also be a street designed for place-making/community. So, let arterials optimize for flow, and don't put dense housing/uses along it. And have streets and paths for place-making and active transportation, with retail, housing, and commercial uses away from roaring traffic. Our cities are built so completely ass-backward it boggles my mind. Nodes of density should be in the centre of blocks of arterials, focused on major transit stations, and not focused on the intersections of arterials, which are highly unlivable.

Indeed. The habit of placing highrises at the very edge of arterial roads seems to be a product of unhappy compromise. The social change advocates want density and walkability; the locals in SHF don't want to be disturbed; at the end, the former get highrises near transit and the latter get to keep the rest of their block intact.

Big picture, it would be better to have highrises shifted inside the block. Those extra 50 m or 100 m of walking to the street won't make the neighborhood less walkable or less transit-friendly, but will make the inhabitants happier: less noise and more comfort. And the street itself should be lined with a 1-2 m wide green strip on both sides, and then maybe low-rise retail.
 

Woodbridge_Heights

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I think we need to move away from the concession model (plowing the grid roads through ravines/river valleys like they aren't there) and build a road network and communities that work with the natural landscape. That would ameliorate the walkability impact of natural landscapes if we are leaving them as boundaries between communities. And the idea that all the density goes on the arterial is kind of a crazy model we have developed in North America. Arterials are roads designed to optimize for flow, and they serve a role in the urban fabric. A road designed for flow cannot also be a street designed for place-making/community. So, let arterials optimize for flow, and don't put dense housing/uses along it. And have streets and paths for place-making and active transportation, with retail, housing, and commercial uses away from roaring traffic. Our cities are built so completely ass-backward it boggles my mind. Nodes of density should be in the centre of blocks of arterials, focused on major transit stations, and not focused on the intersections of arterials, which are highly unlivable.

This criticism stems from the idea that concession roads should prioritize traffic flow. The fact is that we don't need to designate EVERY concession road as a higher order road/proto highway.

Furthermore, what would be the alternative to density along major corridors? Density further away from from the major corridor???

It's also a question of development. Developers do not want to build intermediate roads into their developments and so it's back on the city to demand certain road hierarchies.
 

innsertnamehere

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As another note - if this highway doesn't get built, get ready for some mega sized arterials to accommodate the traffic instead. Expect 6-8 lane arterials every which way to handle the much higher vehicle volumes.
 

afransen

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This criticism stems from the idea that concession roads should prioritize traffic flow. The fact is that we don't need to designate EVERY concession road as a higher order road/proto highway.

Furthermore, what would be the alternative to density along major corridors? Density further away from from the major corridor???

It's also a question of development. Developers do not want to build intermediate roads into their developments and so it's back on the city to demand certain road hierarchies.
There are different ways to approach it. One is that used in Houten, a suburb of Utrecht in the Netherlands.


It basically consists of two TOD cells, with an arterial ring road surrounding each cell, a transit station (regional rail) at the centre of each cell, with public space, major commercial/retail and higher density surrounding the station, then lower density toward the outside nearer the ring road. There's no through traffic for cars across the cell, you need to use the ring road. The streets inside are just distributor/access streets. And there are very few uses that are accessed directly off the arterial/ring road. The community is largely SFH, there is lots of car ownership, but there is high transit and active modeshare owing to the design and the pleasant environment for active uses and making cars slightly less convenient. The lower convenience of cars helps to reduce traffic and congestion.

800x-1.jpg


In contrast, when we try to do something similar here in Canada, even in very supposedly progressive places like Innisfil and their 'Orbit' TOD community around their GO station, the plan is to put the station right at a roaring arterial which is a main through-fare for people coming from the existing community headed for the 400. So we'll likely end up with 6 lanes of 60 kph (actually driving 70) traffic going right through the middle of a TOD community. Forget about letting kids ride their bike to school. Then, of course comes the obligatory gigantic parking lot and high speed access road to the station. I would shift the station off the concession and move it mid-block, myself.
 
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afransen

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For visuals, here is the dream of what Innisfil Orbit would look like.

the-orbit-innisfil-04.jpg

blob_02e80ee9482f9d0e2ac6b38cce011dbd


Compare this to making the station an urban centre, instead of a windswept open space bisected by traffic racing to the highway. Houten from Google Earth, a central square/car-free area next to the station:

houten.PNG
 

TJ O'Pootertoot

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Per above, thanks for posting those Innisfil renderings. I love them every time I see them. They're kind of crazy, obviously, but you have to admire the ambition!

Also, this National Post article (supporting the highway, obviously) is pretty terrible and I'm not going to waste time disassembling its logic, line by line, but the mere fact it doesn't even mention the Greenbelt shows you much understanding McParland actually has of the issues at hand. If anyone wants to 💩 on it, here you go!

 

Student99

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Per above, thanks for posting those Innisfil renderings. I love them every time I see them. They're kind of crazy, obviously, but you have to admire the ambition!

Also, this National Post article (supporting the highway, obviously) is pretty terrible and I'm not going to waste time disassembling its logic, line by line, but the mere fact it doesn't even mention the Greenbelt shows you much understanding McParland actually has of the issues at hand. If anyone wants to 💩 on it, here you go!

As a surprise to probably no one, I liked this article and thought it made more good points in favour of this highway.

And hey, the author effectually gave a shout out to some of you lol
 

TJ O'Pootertoot

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As a surprise to probably no one, I liked this article and thought it made more good points in favour of this highway.

And hey, the author effectually gave a shout out to some of you lol

:)
Is Mississauga actually unable to house more people, as he claims?
Is this really about people in the city telling people they can't live in the suburbs?
Does it really make sense because we built "sprawl" in the past that obviously we should build more in the future?
Like I said, I don't think it's worth analyzing piece by piece. There are probably ec-dev arguments you could make for the highway but he really doesn't make them and he avoids all the significant issues (eg the enviro impacts, the Greenbelt) etc. Just a lot of superficial rhetoric that doesn't really stand up if you understand the actual policy etc.
 

afransen

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Per above, thanks for posting those Innisfil renderings. I love them every time I see them. They're kind of crazy, obviously, but you have to admire the ambition!

Also, this National Post article (supporting the highway, obviously) is pretty terrible and I'm not going to waste time disassembling its logic, line by line, but the mere fact it doesn't even mention the Greenbelt shows you much understanding McParland actually has of the issues at hand. If anyone wants to 💩 on it, here you go!

I was pointing it out as an example of wrong-headed, if ambitious, transit oriented development. Particularly the desire to have an arterial road run over the train station at the centre of the community. Just why?
 

TJ O'Pootertoot

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I was pointing it out as an example of wrong-headed, if ambitious, transit oriented development. Particularly the desire to have an arterial road run over the train station at the centre of the community. Just why?

It's just a concept - I'd be kinda surprised if what gets built ends up looking anything even remotely like that, with giant road-straddling future-pods and green-roofed pyramids. I take your point, if it actually ends up being that. I mean, let's not forget - this is INNISFIL. Do they even have buildings taller than 6-8 storeys now? I see what's out there now as "blue sky" brainstorming, not anything remotely resembling an actual site plan.

That said - if they do build those pyramids, I might be down for a penthouse if it's got lake views.
 

Allandale25

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TheTigerMaster

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Schaefer said King also supports a move by Environmental Defence calling on the federal government to conduct a full Environmental Assessment on the route.
At least the third municipality to call for this recently, because apparently nobody trusts the Government of Ontario not to tell lies.
 

Woodbridge_Heights

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There are different ways to approach it. One is that used in Houten, a suburb of Utrecht in the Netherlands.


It basically consists of two TOD cells, with an arterial ring road surrounding each cell, a transit station (regional rail) at the centre of each cell, with public space, major commercial/retail and higher density surrounding the station, then lower density toward the outside nearer the ring road. There's no through traffic for cars across the cell, you need to use the ring road. The streets inside are just distributor/access streets. And there are very few uses that are accessed directly off the arterial/ring road. The community is largely SFH, there is lots of car ownership, but there is high transit and active modeshare owing to the design and the pleasant environment for active uses and making cars slightly less convenient. The lower convenience of cars helps to reduce traffic and congestion.

800x-1.jpg


In contrast, when we try to do something similar here in Canada, even in very supposedly progressive places like Innisfil and their 'Orbit' TOD community around their GO station, the plan is to put the station right at a roaring arterial which is a main through-fare for people coming from the existing community headed for the 400. So we'll likely end up with 6 lanes of 60 kph (actually driving 70) traffic going right through the middle of a TOD community. Forget about letting kids ride their bike to school. Then, of course comes the obligatory gigantic parking lot and high speed access road to the station. I would shift the station off the concession and move it mid-block, myself.

Thanks for this, very interesting.

A few thoughts as I am not very familiar with this:

1) I measured the width of the 'node' at about 3 km, so anyone living here is at most about 1.5 km away from the station. Contrast that with MX/GO and think about how far most residents are from most stations making the area quite walkable. Also the next station is about 2 Km think about how many stations would need to be added to the GO network to have 2KM station spacing in the suburbs nevermind the city core. I get your point about putting the transit station at the centre of the node rather than on a major (concession) roadway, but even this is a function of; a) most of Toronto's rail lines are along former industrial lands and so any new station will, by design, be quite far away from a population centre (with some exceptions). It would be interesting to see a new subdivision plan that actually includes new rail trackage for a station that the community is built around. b) the predominant design ideas is that riders will drive (or take transit) to the rail station and thus necessitate both being at a major crossroads and having significant transport options to get in/out of the station area. Few stations in the GTA are built with walk in riders in mind. This all depends on municipal planning as developers do not want spend anymore than they can manage.

2) I think this also proves my main point in my previous point. Despite being an organic road network, there is still a hierarchy of road types, the ring road proto highway, feeding into arterials, then intermediate collectors, which feed into local roads, and finally small streets. As I mentioned above the typical development model here is to go from a concession road right down to local streets with no in between arterials/collectors, and this is a problem. Take for example the, relatively recent, developments around Canada's Wonderland in Maple (only because I most familiar with the area). We have a 4km by 4km area bounded by Jane, Rutherford, Dufferin, and Teston/Major Mackenzie, there are like 3 roads that may be considered intermediate type roads (Mcnaughton/Peter Rupert, Melville, and Barhill) and note how there is practically no East West roadways through the development. This type of development forces people on to the concession road just to move around the area.

That being said sure I see the value of putting a transit station in a centre rather than at a crossroads.
 

afransen

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1) I measured the width of the 'node' at about 3 km, so anyone living here is at most about 1.5 km away from the station. Contrast that with MX/GO and think about how far most residents are from most stations making the area quite walkable. Also the next station is about 2 Km think about how many stations would need to be added to the GO network to have 2KM station spacing in the suburbs nevermind the city core. I get your point about putting the transit station at the centre of the node rather than on a major (concession) roadway, but even this is a function of; a) most of Toronto's rail lines are along former industrial lands and so any new station will, by design, be quite far away from a population centre (with some exceptions). It would be interesting to see a new subdivision plan that actually includes new rail trackage for a station that the community is built around. b) the predominant design ideas is that riders will drive (or take transit) to the rail station and thus necessitate both being at a major crossroads and having significant transport options to get in/out of the station area. Few stations in the GTA are built with walk in riders in mind. This all depends on municipal planning as developers do not want spend anymore than they can manage.
This is partly why I think our fixation on only using legacy rail ROWs is a bit short sighted. It is darn cheap to build new at-grade rail ROW in greenfield areas on the urban growth boundary. It's even cheaper to park it by reserving the ROW for the rail and station to be added later. We build $250m GO stations but are absolutely terrified of the idea of laying some track in new ROWs--we can't even conceive of the idea. Of course, we have no qualms about building massive new highways ROWs. 2km station spacing is about right for regional rail. Metrolinx will be moving in this direction as they electrify by adding infill stations. Worst-case 1.5km distance to the station makes for a 5-7 minute bike ride at a leisurely speed for the worst case. They have a big bicycle parking facility at the station. And because there is only minimal, low speed interior circulation for cars, it is very cycling friendly. The one change I would make to the model is to integrate GTA-style bus depot near the station, which a bus-only access road from the ring road (perhaps parallel to the rail ROW). Agreed that developers won't want to pay unless required to. It's worth pointing out that there is substantially less roadway required. Might just be a matter of reallocating infrastructure dollars.
 
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Northern Light

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