I like following changes in opinion and shifts in the conversation. Here’s a sign of such a shift in the conversation underway in Toronto, and we can hear major echoes of it here in Vancouver. Clearly, our battle goes on, with rancor galore from those who oppose the changes in how City land is used for transportation by what mode.
Oliver Moore writes on Urban Transportation for the Globe and Mail.
About one quarter of Toronto’s land area is streets and sidewalks, and how the city uses that enormous resource will help determine how it develops in the decades to come.
At a time when cities are recognizing that mobility is no longer primarily about cars, Toronto is preparing to select a new leader for the transportation department. It’s one of the most important roles in the bureaucracy, with the ability to shape the city, and the choice will send a message about the future Toronto wants to build. . . .
. . . In an earlier time, roads were for moving cars and the main job of city bureaucrats was to make sure motorists weren’t slowed down. But cities are changing. Mobility is changing. Toronto has made initial steps in this direction, with the introduction of some protected bicycle lanes and dedicated transit corridors. And the prospect of bigger change looms, from the emergence of driverless cars to carving out space for pedestrians on Yonge Street.
In Vancouver, I understand that some 32% of its land is devoted to transportation, so changing priorities affects a lot of land. And new priorities need to be a prominent part of the conversation.