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 on 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 shows that we are either doing something wrong or forgetting an important part of urban growth.

Transportation Challenges in Markham

VIVA YRT MarkhamBeing a former resident of Toronto, in some ways, I must give credit to 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 other areas in Markham should not be forgotten.

Issues with Current Transportation Infrastructure

One of the main issues is the bus/HOV lanes that end just west of Old Kennedy. Faster and more frequent service, at a lower cost, may help 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 Transit’s Highway 407 service with 15-minute intervals could help 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.

Transit Models in East Asia

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.

Challenges in Markham’s Urban Planning

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 need 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 alleviate congestion and build a better livable city for everyone.

By: Manny James