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Toronto Urban Sprawl Compared to Other Cities

Admiral Beez

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Suburban Offices Are Cool Again
Companies don’t have to head downtown to woo millennials anymore.

See link.
When I was starting my career in the mid-1990s no one wrote about locating offices to attract Gen-X. We went where the jobs were. I’ve always lived downtown, but have worked in Malton, Markham, Concord, Vaughan, Port Credit and now Dufferin and Steeles. I just drive to work. What changed for the Millennials? Locating your office to appeal to the early stage of your employees’ lives makes no sense, unless you don’t care about retention and like Jeffrey Epstein you just want a continued stream of fresh and inexpensive talent, tossing the earlier cohorts as they age out.
 

innsertnamehere

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When I was starting my career in the mid-1990s no one wrote about locating offices to attract Gen-X. We went where the jobs were. I’ve always lived downtown, but have worked in Malton, Markham, Concord, Vaughan, Port Credit and now Dufferin and Steeles. I just drive to work. What changed for the Millennials? Locating your office to appeal to the early stage of your employees’ lives makes no sense, unless you don’t care about retention and like Jeffrey Epstein you just want a continued stream of fresh and inexpensive talent, tossing the earlier cohorts as they age out.
Millennials aren't that young any more - that's why.The oldest of them are almost 40. That's a pretty important age group of a lot of key staff for a lot of companies.

Why are they locating downtown? Because for better or for worse, a lot of suburban offices really struggle to hire. Like. a lot.

I'm on the younger end of Millenials, and I'm fine to drive if the salary provides for it - but downtown jobs usually pay better and offer much better quality of life. So I work downtown. Lets me and my Fiancée live with one car too, saving a bunch of $$$.

Of my group of university friends I graduated with, all but two work downtown. One of those two is seeing his firm seriously considering moving downtown from North York, and the other works in Markham but is seriously looking to leave his job to find something downtown because he dislikes the job location so much.

Being located around Union is especially valuable as it lets you pull talent from the entire GTA. Locating in, say, Markham means a lot of people from the western GTA aren't even going to bother applying to your job postings because it's too far of a drive.
 

Northern Light

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When I was starting my career in the mid-1990s no one wrote about locating offices to attract Gen-X. We went where the jobs were. I’ve always lived downtown, but have worked in Malton, Markham, Concord, Vaughan, Port Credit and now Dufferin and Steeles. I just drive to work. What changed for the Millennials? Locating your office to appeal to the early stage of your employees’ lives makes no sense, unless you don’t care about retention and like Jeffrey Epstein you just want a continued stream of fresh and inexpensive talent, tossing the earlier cohorts as they age out.
There are some notable differences from an earlier generation.

Far fewer drive/own cars.

I'm one of the few in my group of friends to have a car.

I would say of the dozen households I'm closest too (my social circle, not street address), fully 1/3 have no legal driver, while another 1/3 do but use carshare/transit in combination rather than owning.

It should be said here, we're talking middle-income, college-educated for the most part, also mostly 30s through middle age.

In an earlier generation, you would have seen much higher uptake of licenses and much higher levels of car ownership.

In today's context, in Toronto, a suburban location, particularly if not convenient to transit can be a serious impediment to hiring.

It requires no particular conceit by a younger worker to simply say "I can't get there from where I live" or "I can't get there in under 2 hours, so not gonna do it"

Add that to lifestyle preferences; the financial challenges of Toronto's real estate prices (which means less money for cars or long-distance transit in many budgets) and you have a strong preference towards downtown Toronto.

Thereafter, an attachment towards key nodes in the burbs that are fairly well served by transit.

Lots of places can still get by with more a car-oriented space, but certainly less so than in the past.
 

Admiral Beez

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There are some notable differences from an earlier generation.

Far fewer drive/own cars.
I suppose that's a big change. I got my license at 16 in 1987, bought my first car when I got my first f/t job in 1995. By the time we bought the Cabbagetown semi we live in now in 1998 we had two cars. I worked for the McCain's at Yonge and Lawrence for a few years and did enjoy the walk to College Station and the short subway ride, but other than that, all my jobs needed a car. Even if I worked downtown I'd still drive or ride the motorcycle, provided I could find/afford parking. At Yonge and Lawrence we had free employee parking underground, which is rare to impossible today.

I enjoy the drive to work, while on the otherhand every time I take the TTC I seem to come across the insane and/or disgusting folks. This weekend we took the TTC to the island terminal and I had to stare down some creep checking out my daughter (women have it terrible on transit), and then there was some guy screaming at his demons, trying to get onto the streetcar as we're getting off at College. Then down the steps there's some scruffy beggar shouting at everyone to give him money.

For three years I moved to Fredericton, NB and driving to work there was a treat. I think there was one traffic light to work, and it took me 10 mins to drive. I used to come home for lunch. There's something to be said for rural living. But in the end I missed Toronto so came back, but there are the scruffy parts I can do without, so in my commute I choose the seclusion of my car.
 

doady

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Yeah, a TTC vehicle or station is definitely not a place for women. Anyone who has a daughter or wife should never let them use the TTC, if they care about their safety. If you are a real man, you have a car, it's much better to drive the women in your life where they need to go.
 

W. K. Lis

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Traffic Study Comes Under Fire for Being Too ‘Pro-Car’
Critics say the latest Urban Mobility Report ignores the new realities of multi-modal transport.

From link.

A landmark report that analyzes traffic congestion and its costs is coming under fire from transportation experts who say its methodology and findings are biased toward cars.

The Urban Mobility Report “is a throwback to an earlier age” that “reflects an outdated transport planning paradigm which assumed that ‘transportation’ means automobile travel and ‘transportation problem’ means traffic delay,” wrote Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, a Canadian organization.

This pro-car bias, according to Litman, means that the UMR, published by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, promotes highway expansion at the expense of other transportation solutions. The latest iteration of the UMR was published in August.

“Since planning decisions often involve trade-offs between congestion reductions and other objectives, these practices tend to overvalue roadway expansions and undervalue other congestion-reduction strategies, resulting in a transport system that is more automobile-dependent, costly, dangerous and polluting than residents want,” Litman wrote.

Moreover, because decision-makers and journalists around the country depend on the UMR as a baseline for their analyses, the report’s pro-car biases “can skew planning decisions to underinvest in other goals such as safety, affordability or independent mobility for non-drivers,” Litman argued.

Litman and others, such as Bruce Schaller in CityLab, Daniel Herriges in Strong Towns, Joe Cortright in City Observatory, and David Alpert of Greater Greater Washington, criticized the UMR for overestimating the cost of congestion, omitting the effects of “induced demand” (i.e., how highways incentivize people to drive on them), and ignoring commuters who don’t rely on automobiles to get to work.

UMR’s authors defended their conclusions.

“Almost every solution strategy works somewhere in some situation and almost every strategy is the wrong treatment in some places and times,” the study’s authors, Tim Lomax, David Schrank, Bill Eisele, write in the 2019 Urban Mobility Report. “Anyone who tells you there is a single solution that can solve congestion, be supported and implemented everywhere (or even in most locations) is exaggerating the effect of their idea.”

Whatever the controversy, the mainstream media jumped at the report’s finding, such as that the average driver sat in traffic for 54 hours in 2017 — a 26 percent rise over the past 10 years — while commuters in the 15 most congested cities sat behind their wheels for 83 extra hours that year.

The report’s ranking of major cities’ congestion woes also received attention. Traffic-plagued Los Angeles topped their list with the country’s worst rush-hour commuter delays in 2017 with drivers frittering away 119 hours in gridlock; followed by San Francisco-Oakland with 103 hours; Washington, D.C., (102 hours); greater New York (92 hours), and San Jose (81 hours).

Yet even those figures are flawed. It ranked compact, transit-friendly cities like Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C., as having worst congestion than sprawling, car-dependent metropolises like Atlanta, Houston, and Miami, even though drivers might spend less time in bumper-to-bumper traffic but more hours speeding down endless freeways for their commute.

Schaller argues in City Lab that commuters are not actually spending more time getting to work because jobs are coming to suburbs where people live. According to Census data he analyzed, average commutes have grown over the past decade by less than 10 percent, with most travel times only one or two minutes longer. Schaller recommends building denser cities, with work concentrated in downtown commercial districts and new housing built nearby.

So what is there to take away from a misleading traffic study?

The authors do recommend some progressive policy solutions, such as making public transit systems more efficient, staggering commuting times, and encouraging mixed-use development in neighborhoods to make them more walkable.

But many of their recommendations, such as programming traffic signals to give motorists a string of green lights, fielding more Artificial Intelligence-driven cars, and widening streets and highways, will get a thumbs-down from safe-streets activists.
One of the comments shows the bias:


Jeffrey W. Baker says:​

I used to be an anonymous functionary at TTI. What could you possibly expect from this outfit? It’s in the middle of nowhere, car-bound as can possibly be. Their HQ is an exurban office park in the “new” part of campus, surrounded by its own parking lots and then a much larger general parking lot. That setting is within the greater tragedy of Brazos County, where “highway 6 runs both ways” but don’t try bicycling on it.​
 

Transportfan

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One of the comments shows the bias:


Jeffrey W. Baker says:​
Why is it that every time I look at this thread the last words on the last post are from a Yank?​
Disguised to look like the poster's own words even! Sheesh!​
At least the article mentioned a Canadian organization. Eases the pain...​
 

doady

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Exactly in what way did W. K. Lis. disguise what "Jeffrey W. Baker says:" as his own words?

This thread is about sprawl. Sprawl in US and Canada have some similarities. US and Canada are neighbours. US has 10x the population, and therefore 10x the amount of writers. Get over it. It's not like Citylab never highlights Canadian cities in their articles. They are not as anti-Canada as you are anti-US. So stop being so sensitive.

Citylab does show some of their myopia in that article, like ignoring the potential of ridesharing and AI-driven cars to drastically reduce the demand for parking and therefore its potential to reduce the footprint of urban areas and reduce the distances travelled.

They also fail to recognize the importance of having jobs close to work, to reduce travel distances and reduce the road capacity needed and make walking, cycling, and transit viable options. That's why transit systems in Brampton, Mississauga, Laval, Surrey, etc. have much higher ridership than most US systems. True urbanism means a place where people both live and work.
 

W. K. Lis

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Why is it that every time I look at this thread the last words on the last post are from a Yank?​
Disguised to look like the poster's own words even! Sheesh!​
At least the article mentioned a Canadian organization. Eases the pain...​
This thread is "COMPARED TO OTHER CITIES".
 

Transportfan

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Exactly in what way did W. K. Lis. disguise what "Jeffrey W. Baker says:" as his own words?
The words were posted as main text and it threw me for a loop.

They are not as anti-Canada as you are anti-US. So stop being so sensitive.
Gotta admit I'm a confused autistic conservative.

My point is Canada is in the shadow of a superpower and it annoys me to see all these links and quotations from that foreign
(and increasingly exotic) superpower as if it they're domestic. The irony is that Canada and the US are actually more different from each other than any two adjacent nations with the same cultural background.
 

Northern Light

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The irony is that Canada and the US are actually more different from each other than any two adjacent nations with the same cultural background.
Hmm, have you consulted the British/Irish on this? Or the Austrians/Germans? Or the Swiss and any of the French/Italians/Germans? Or the Chileans and the Argentines? Or the Columbians and Venezuelans?

Better still how about the North and South Koreans?

Just wondering.
 

doady

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My point is Canada is in the shadow of a superpower and it annoys me to see all these links and quotations from that foreign
(and increasingly exotic) superpower as if it they're domestic. The irony is that Canada and the US are actually more different from each other than any two adjacent nations with the same cultural background.
As I said, they compare their own cities to Canadian cities too. Here one comparing transit in 5 US cities to that of Toronto. And even you noted that the article W .K Lis posted has some Canadian content.

Two countries of similar age, former British colonies, that started on the same trajectory in the early post-war era, but went down very different paths. US and Canadian cities still look similar on the surface, but there are some major differences. If you want to compare urban sprawl, US. vs. Canada seems like a natural comparison.

And it's not like there are lot of Canadian cities to compare Toronto to. Geographically, Toronto is closer to US cities more than Canadian cities. I think it is good to keep up with what is going on in the US, same way they keep up what is going on in Toronto.
 

44 North

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I enjoy the drive to work, while on the otherhand every time I take the TTC I seem to come across the insane and/or disgusting folks. This weekend we took the TTC to the island terminal and I had to stare down some creep checking out my daughter (women have it terrible on transit), and then there was some guy screaming at his demons, trying to get onto the streetcar as we're getting off at College. Then down the steps there's some scruffy beggar shouting at everyone to give him money.
Sounds like transferring at College. Make haste past the pained shrieks, shuffle down the crypt-like stairs, then maneuver over the sprawled vagrant upon entering the dungeon. C'est la vie. Transferring south side now seems to have a permanent pigeon bum to greet you.

Having said that I do have trouble beliving your ease of driving comparison. Surely there are many things that grind you gears. Also biking has many benefits that can strike through the cons of both driving and transit.
 

Admiral Beez

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Having said that I do have trouble beliving your ease of driving comparison. Surely there are many things that grind you gears.
Sure, but driving is the best way to get to work for me. I work at Dufferin and Supertest, just south of Steeles. To get here from Parliament and Carlton would take over an hour, requring three different vehicles. I can do it in about 35 mins in the AM and about 45 min in the PM.
 

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