Here is an article I wanted to share with you from the Torontoist over there efforts to become a transit city. Transit City: the TTC's plan to build a network of light rail, extending dedicated transit infrastructure to many of Toronto's neighbourhoods that lack it, thereby increasing residents' quality of life, reducing our collective environmental footprint, and redressing a major backlog of transit development. Transit Cities: the term applied at a symposium held last week to cities that don't just have transit but integrate it properly into the urban landscape, making good on the promise that transit expansion seems to hold but on which it doesn't always deliver. Designing Transit Cities was its name, and bringing planners, academics, advocates, and the public at large up to speed on the opportunities and pitfalls of transit expansion was its goal.
The day-and-a-half-long symposium, co-sponsored by the City of Toronto, the Canadian Urban Institute, the Cities Centre at the University of Toronto, the Toronto Society of Architects, and various transit agencies, brought in experts from around the world to outline the successes and failures they'd seen in other cities' transit expansions, and extrapolate some lessons for Toronto. Panel discussions dealt with everything from intelligent planning to community advocacy, and the symposium managed to cover a lot more ground than such events often do. (Though, as local transit guru Steve Munro suggested on his blog, this ground was perhaps well-trod, a rediscovery of ideas that have been discussed for decades.)
Though the speakers came from a variety of backgrounds, some themes did emerge quite clearly, providing a consensus view on the relationship between transit planning and urban development.