Paul Bedford on Politics and Transit Choices

In a recent article, former Toronto Chief Planner Paul Bedford asks "Have you ever thought about how you would conduct your daily life if you could no longer drive?" Bedford points out, of course, that this is already the reality for many people throughout the GTHA. In Toronto, 1 in 4 households do not have access to a motor vehicle and for many this is due to the increasingly popularity of getting around by foot or bike. Bedford also references Toronto Public Health's recent The Walkable City report, pointing out that 74% of Torontonians strongly valued a walkable community where a car is not a nececssity.

Bedford presents several reasons that illustrate the importance of supporting quality public transit and neighbourhoods that do not require residents to rely on driving. However, he warns about the importance of stable and long-term funding, and the critical role of politicians in making and supporting crucial decisions to support these investments. Referencing the projected costs of Toronto and regional transportation plans, he is optimistic that it is possible to fund and build the transportation system that the region needs, if political leaders from all parties and ideologies learn from other cities, exhibit leadership, make tough decisions, and carefully consider the costs of inaction.  

Posted On: July 10, 2012