Tuesday’s headlines

BUILD TORONTO
Can city develop and regulate, too? [ Toronto Star ]
Does Build Toronto know what it’s in for? [ Globe & Mail ]
Concern growing over land transfer to Build Toronto [ National Post ]

OTHER NEWS
Is two-way traffic the best way? [ Toronto Star ]
Watchdog dismisses complaint against councillor [ Globe & Mail ]
Is Toronto’s economy really as rosy as Toronto Life claims? [ National Post ]
Toronto’s plan to restrict right turns has drivers seeing red [ Globe & Mail ]
GO takes a pounding [ Toronto Sun ]
Rating our mayor’s Twitter talents [ Toronto Star ]
Sponsoring is ‘buying votes’ [ Toronto Sun ]

9 comments

  1. Thanks for that, Brent. I’ve added the link.

  2. I am not sure turning the Richmond and Adelaide into 2-way streets is a good idea. Yes, cars travel faster in one-way street, but one-way street are actually much easier to cross on foot, because one traffic light effectively turns off the tap of traffic. New York has tons of one way streets, and cars there travel fast, yet I found jay-walking there was a simple task. And one-way streets there certainly do not kill street life, right? I think street life is mostly a result of density, one-way streets are not a big factor at all. What is needed is to narrow these two streets, add bike lanes, widen the side walk, plant trees, etc. Keeping them one way will give us the space for those improvements. (Actually I was even dreaming of turning King and Queen into one way streets, so that them can have enough space for dedicated street car lanes, wouldn’t that be nice?)

    Finally, I’d like to argue that, even though I identify myself as an urbanite, I strongly believe that we still need to get cars moving in/out of the city quickly. In a perfect world, you can hassle motorists enough to get them all out of cars and onto transit or bike. Unfortunately, we are in a world that there exists sprawling suburb, and many of them are producing smaller centers themselves. Toronto is in direct competition with them for businesses, which is vital for the health of the city. And Toronto has been slowly losing ground for a long time. Without immediate transit improvement as to compensate (we all know how long it takes for any real transit improvements to take place), any drastic measures that curtail car movement in the city is likely to cause more businesses to flee the city. Thus here is a delicate balance to strike.

  3. I’d rather see more intersections with scramble crossings than banned right turns on red. At pedestrian heavy intersections, that can make it nearly impossible to turn, ever, since on your green, the pedestrians are also crossing in your direction, presumably heavily, leaving you little room to cross. Even once the pedestrian lights start flashing caution, people downtown continue to cross, practically locking out right turns altogether if they also can’t turn on the red.

  4. Instead of the Vaughan’s two-way idea, I much prefer the Entertainment District BIA’s plan to reduce Richmond and Adelaide to 3 lanes, with one lane devoted to a combination of parking and “bump-out” curbs.

    During off-peak hours, one of the three lanes would be devoted to parking as well, making for a 2-lane road all together.

    It’s worth noting that the plan is also to reduce the amount of lanes on John Street as well, making it into more of a pedestrian mall.

    The final presentation, which contains concept drawings, is available on their downloads page.

  5. Getting rid of the one ways is a bad idea and will choke the area in gridlock. There are a lot of deliveries in that area and the one ways help keep everybody moving. I am all for narrowing streets etc but a city still needs effective ways to drive from one side to the other.

  6. Yu, I think there is a lot of debate on this topic. Many, many cities are working on changing one-way streets back to two-ways to slow traffic and improve street life. Sure, New York is mostly one-way streets due to the ridiculous traffic volume but it’s not really a good comparison due to driving behaviour***, which slows cars to a speed far less than what is seen on Richmond/Adelaide.

    Some papers on the topic arguing both viewpoints:

    http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/circulars/ec019/Ec019_f2.pdf

    http://www.ies.org.sg/journal/past/v44i2/v44i2_9.pdf

    http://www.i2i.org/articles/2-2005.pdf

    The fact that the last paper, arguing for one-way streets, is by Anti Urban Public Enemy #1 Randal O’Toole is all I need to know that two-ways are better than one.

    [*** There is a strange concept of “flow” in NY that is unlike any other city I’ve driven in. The lane markings are meaningless — drivers instead watch the traffic around them and elastically flow through the street, elegantly dodging as a group double parked cars, bikes, pedestrians and other drivers. No blinkers, no straight lines, just a constant sense of movement. Has to be experienced to be believed. This watchfulness and caution slows traffic in a way that you don’t see on a street like Richmond where people stay in their lanes and drive in a highway-like manner]

  7. Interesting. It appears that even the Spacing Wire audience is not in favour of changing Richmond and Adelaide into two way streets. As an Adelaide Street resident (who walks to work and jaywalks across Adelaide at least four times per day), I also agree that changing these streets to two way streets would, at best, have very limited benefits (with serious traffic consequences).

    Given the delays on the King Street streetcar, the City might want to consider moving the downtown section of this line (say between Charlotte and Parliament) to dedicated lanes on Adelaide (Eastbound), and Wellington/Front (Westbound). This could speed up this streetcar line and speed up rush hour traffic on King, while making Adelaide and Wellington a bit more pedestrian friendly.

    The Entertainment District BIA’s proposal is also an excellent one.

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