It's Election Season

Planning issues should be front and centre on the municipal agenda this year.  Here at PPT, we’re working up questions to ask municipal candidates, and putting on our thinking caps to come up with pithy messages that express our core views about the planning process, why it doesn’t work for citizens, and what should be done to reform it.  What do you think?  Tell us your views, and what you think should be the central messages we deliver to politicians and the public.  You can comment here, or if you want to send it to us directly, email us at


Pedestrian collissions and fatalities are the result of bad street design, not jaywalking or particularly inattentive drivers or walkers. When you build a streetscape that doesn't 'signal' to drivers that pedestrians are present (like six lane arterials that visually and spatially read like speedways), accidents will happen and pedestrians will always pay a much bigger price than cars. Roads and streets are the biggest public space in any city. These spaces have to be made safe for all users by applying a 'complete streets' design approach to them, no right on red, better transit (to incentivize walking), traffic calming, walker friendly infrastruture like benches, good lighting, direct routes and buffers between cars and people. Make Toronto more walkable - alot of the fixes are affordable, the improvements to health are obvious, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions and the social benefits of livable, connected communities are priceless.

Just wanted to add info about an upcoming TCAT (Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation) initiative in April. Their "Complete Streets Forum 2010" will will take place on 23 April, 2010 at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto. and there will also be pre-conference activities taking place on 22 April, 2010 at various locations.
Quoting: "The forum will feature speaker presentations providing policy and project updates, implementation case studies, best practices in planning, and evaluation of urban opportunities. Over 150 delegates are expected to attend from across Ontario representing transportation planners, urban design firms, municipal and provincial government, industry, public health professionals and established non-profit organizations."
This event will provide an in depth look at 'planning' and related solutions to improving the transportation infrastructure of the City.
check it out at:

Without question, the most important issue in Toronto, and the GTA, will be the need for sustainable, electric, grid based transit. The shortened federal and provincial Environmental Assessment process has enabled polluting, carbon based transportation to expand. As the Toronto Airport Authority tries to allow Porter Airline to triple its flights, and as Metrolinx attempts to build the largest diesel rail corridor in the world, the air in the west end of Toronto will become even more toxic. Noise pollution will become a major issue as well.

This airport and rail corridor run through 1/3 of all the wards in Toronto, and although the City of Toronto is fighting both infrastructure initiatives, we need as citizens of Toronto to fight for sustainable transit en masse. Health, poverty and pollution are interwoven, and the retrograde fossil fuel based policies of the federal and provincial governments for short haul flights, and diesel trains, must be contested by citizens in Toronto. No other city in the world is expanding inner city diesel rail corridors or short haul airports. This diesel rail corridor runs directly beside the West Toronto Railpath, potentially rendering it unusable.

Asthma is twice the national average in Toronto, and air pollution is about to get worse because of decisions by our elected officials. We need electric trains, and an integrated municipal and inter regional rail system to serve OUR needs. Let's ensure that Toronto remains progressive and green in the next municipal election, and that we support the mayoral candidate(s) that can push back against the governmental imposition of backward transit initiatives. Calgary has an electric train whose motto is "Ride the Wind", and Toronto is getting third rate transit to make us a third rate city- toxic trains and toxic planes.

For more on these infrastructure initiatives, there are articles at

Transportation issues are indeed one of the big topics for this year. The big question is, when it comes to something like electrification, or even Metrolinx's agenda of The Big Move, is who is going to pay for it and how. Better public transportation, or initiatives like electrification of the GO system, require billions of dollars of investment - money that governments claim they don't have. This means municipal and provincial politicians are going to have to put options on the table that most of them aren't too anxious to discuss in an election year - including, to name but one example, road pricing (read tolls). To understand the options, we need good public education and frank public discussion about the costs and consequences of action - and inaction.

Sat, 2013-02-16 12:33

Join us at  where we'll be talking to people all day about planning issues.  Tell us what issues matter to you the most.  Tell us what you would like to see in a "Planning 101" toolkit.  Tweet your ideas to #Planning101.