We need more transit in the GTA and we have limited funding to build it. So it’s important that decisions about where and what to build are made based on facts.
In a recent Toronto Star article, the City of Toronto’s Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat said that an analysis given to city councillors in 2013 justifying a subway for Scarborough was “problematic” because it included ridership numbers that were considerably higher than the TTC’s figures.
The higher figures were enough to convince some councillors that a subway (instead of the planned LRT) was viable and that decision is being questioned.
“Forecasting” or estimating future population and job numbers that result in potential riders is only one part of the equation. Residents who live around the line should also be considered potential riders.
It’s true that new development and density is needed to bring people and jobs to an area and it helps to sustain the demand for transit over time. However, public transit is accessible to all and everyone should pay their fair share.
The Star’s article points out that when projecting ridership “one of the most critical factors is density around the line.”
BILD has long-advocated for pre-designating and pre-zoning along transit lines. Knowing how many people and jobs are “allowed” along a corridor, according to city-approved plans, would make for more trustworthy data.
However, if the cost to build new transit is put solely on backs of new homebuyers it will increase the cost of housing and decrease the ability for new neighbours to move in.