The GTA needs a 21st century transportation infrastructure

The TTC projects ridership will increase to 503 million next year. At the end of 2010 there were 477 million rides, up from a projected 462 million rides. With these figures wouldn’t it be fair to understand that transportation at all levels is going to increase?

According to the Ontario Ministry of Finance, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is projected to be the fastest growing region of the province, with its population increasing by 3 million, or 47.7 percent, by 2036. The GTA’s share of provincial population is projected to rise from 47.1 percent in 2010 to 51.8 percent in 2036.

Drastic changes are going to have to take place with our transportation in order for this amount of commuters to get around. This is impossible while the TTC is facing an $85 million shortfall in the 2012 budget.

Our roadway commuting times, in the present infrastructure, are ranked as the worst in all of North America, worse than New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
So with public transit and roadways already failing us in the present aren’t we going to have to look at cultivating every form of transportation that is available to us?

This of course leaves us with the heel-toe express and good old peddle power, which has been transporting us from point A to point B since the 1860s.

Yet our current mayor and city councilors feel it’s unreasonable to extend our existing bike lanes to help keep our congested city moving.

The cost of removing the 2.5-kilometre Birchmount and 3.4-kilometre Pharmacy lanes is pegged at $210,000. Councilor Michelle Berardinetti (Ward 35, Scarborough Southwest) successfully campaigned in last fall’s election on getting them removed, saying they are unpopular with residents. I just hope that Berardinetti’s ward enjoy sitting in congested traffic jams more than icky bike lanes.

A bike lane is put into place to help regulate and control a system of transportation other than the almighty internal combustible engine. Without regulation and control you are left with anarchy, which is what is currently taking place over the GTA.

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On August 7, 2009, a woman who was struck by a cyclist on a sidewalk died.

The 56-year-old woman was walking south of Kennedy Road near Sheppard Avenue East while a 15-year-old boy was cycling north on the same sidewalk. The two collided head on. Without regulated bike lanes we are just going to see a continuing rise in pedestrian fatalities.