Climate Change & Travel
Per person-kilometre travelled, transit emits significantly less emissions than a private automobile, contributing to improved air quality and a reduction in greenhouse gas. By encouraging a more compact transit-oriented development, rapid transit can become a catalyst for creating more walkable communities, leading to an improved quality of life for current and future residents.
Scarborough is often left out of public transit improvements. When it comes to rapid transit, while initiatives like RapidTO have helped introduce better ways to utilize bus routes, Scarborough is LOSING infrastructure with the closure of the RT in 2023 - where a subway replacement won’t open until 2030 at the earliest.
Source: Australia's Cycling Promotion Fund
To be clear, I do not expect the DSBRT's goal is to replace every single car owned by residents who already live in the area.
This is about preventing an increase in local traffic from new developments and city growth. With developments coming to areas like Markham/Ellesmere and the Highland Creek Village, condominiums often have parking requirements set by our city to meet. Part of the reason why local residents may oppose these developments is due to the assumption that "new neighbours = more cars on streets = more traffic inside/around neighbourhoods".
With the DSBRT in close proximity to many development sites like the condo project on Markham & Ellesmere, this provides a valid reason for the city council to put in preventative measures such as reducing parking lot requirements so development to address the housing crisis can continue but still mitigate local traffic congestions from more cars, SUVs and other personal vehicles that cannot be controlled by the city (unlike with bus transit, where routes and stop locations can be modified).
Toronto City Council recognized the need for transportation improvements, adopting a city-wide goal of having “By 2050, 100 per cent of vehicles in Toronto will use low-carbon energy; 75 per cent of trips under 5 km will be walked or cycled.”
Source: TransformTO Implementation Plan Consultation Summary (toronto.ca)
With these important and sizable goals, the City of Toronto and neighbouring regions must encourage projects that enable meaningful progress toward these goals. The DSBRT project provides the ideal opportunity to expand transit-priority zones and increase Public Transit and active transportation routes. This is possible through the use of limited streets and areas where transit vehicles are afforded more priority through special lanes or priority signals; and by connecting existing routes. This is an incredible opportunity to reach multiple goals of municipal, provincial, and federal governments.
Tell your elected officials that Toronto deserves a more connected and safer east-end.