The Transit File – Is Markham the next victim of unchecked urban growth? We must do better!

Markham Traffic

I will limit this to one paragraph, or more, because there is not much more I can say that has not already been said. We must do better! The traffic on Highway 7, between Warden and McCowan is just dreadful. For a city like Markham it’s unacceptable to already see this level of congestion. After experiencing this level of traffic for a Saturday afternoon, I thought I possibly went Back to the Future or maybe fell into some type of Ant-Man & Wasp quantum vortex (sorry for the spoiler). Alternatives, for bypassing this stretch, are not necessarily any better. It’s unfortunate because we need more livable places in the GTA, but the number of cars show that we either doing something wrong or forgetting an important part of urban growth.

Being a former resident of Toronto in some ways I must give certain areas of the GTA, but not all. It may not be a fair comparison, but when it comes to the TTC I have a reason to exit my car. Even something like the transit-way in Mississauga has helped in my travels. I can’t wait to see the benefits of the new LRT being built by Metrolinx in Peel on Hurontario. However, for the middle of Markham, where is the incentive? Yes, the new Downtown Markham will be a big draw, once completed, but I other areas in Markham are not forgotten. One of the main issues are the bus/HOV lanes that end just west of Old Kennedy. Faster and more frequent service, at a lower cost, may help to take residents, who live in Markham, off Highway 7. A BRT solution, straight through to Markham road could help, however maybe there are just too many cars? In addition, an increase to GO Transits Highway 407 service, 15 min. service, could help to bring more drivers out of their cars in York Region. I never quite understood why there isn’t a rapid surface subway or train service, even if privately run, right across the 407.

I am still amazed at the options available in East-Asia. Surface subways, LRTs, streetcars, heavy rail and more. offering multiple options for travelers. Transit is an investment; ensuring the vibrancy of a city or region. Now Markham is trying to preserve its city and heritage, however it may simply be a victim of urban sprawl and uncoordinated planning throughout the GTA. Unfortunately, with the limits to GTA housing, and affordable options, people just need somewhere to live. Now I don’t want to dump all over Markham. VIVA/YRT transit is a regional service, serving all of York Region, and some decisions may simply be out of its control. But road planning and development, in this area of Markham, still needs work. The GTA is growing in leaps and bounds. An election is on the way and we need to choose brave and visionary politicians, across the GTA, who will aim to help elevate congestion and help to build a better livable city for everyone.

By: Manny James
https://twitter.com/iammannyj

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