November 8, 2011

Recent TCAT activities and news items:
  1. Ontario Complete Streets Gap Analysis Underway
  2. Mobility Pricing Solutions
  3. University of Toronto Lecture on Complete Streets
  4. Bike Trails Increase Property Value
  5. Call for Federal Investment in Public Transit

1. Ontario Complete Streets Gap Analysis Underway

Ryan Whitney, the Complete Streets Researcher and Program Manager here at TCAT, has been busy establishing the methods for the Complete Streets Gap Analysis due to be completed in mid-January 2012. The Gap Analysis will provide a comprehensive overview of Complete Streets policy language, or similar policy language, in Ontario as well as barriers to implementing these policies. The research will also include a Case Studies section that will profile several exceptional communities across the province working towards Complete Streets. Ryan loves to talk about his research, so please feel free to get in contact with him at ryan.whitney@tcat.ca if you have any questions or if you would like to recommend a community for inclusion in the study.
 

2. Mobility Pricing Solutions
Why are mobility pricing measures a contentious issue? Even though a recent poll found that most GTA residents support a downtown congestion charge, building consensus for new road tolls is no easy task. Yet this month there is not one but two stellar events focused on how to pay for the mobility solutions we need in Toronto and the rest of the GTA.

Tomorrow, the Toronto Talks Mobility Forum organized by the University of Toronto Cities Centre kicks off with a free public forum at Toronto City Hall.

And then on Nov 22nd, a Mobility Pricing Stakeholder Forum takes place at Metropolitan Hotel. The Forum is organized by the tenacious Marty Collier at Transport Futures who has kept this issue in the public eye for several years now. Go to their website for more information.

3. University of Toronto Lecture on Complete Streets
Robert Imrie, Professor of Geography at King's College London, will be in Toronto to give a lecture titled "Designing for Complete Streets: the inter-relationships between vision-impairment and space sharing". The talk will be happening on Nov 23rd from 12 to 1pm at the University of Toronto, Rehabilitation Sciences building. See here for details.

4. Bike Trails Increase Property Value
A recent study by two University of Cincinnati professors, Rainer vom Hofe and Olivier Parent, has shown the importance of bike trails to increasing property values. The study focused on the Little Miami Scenic Trail which cuts across the Cincinnati metropolitan region in Ohio, and found that real estate value increased by $9 every foot closer to the trail. These trails also have a positive spillover effect for local governments by increasing property taxes. To these, vom Hofe explains in the Atlantic Cites that "Many cities don’t have the great outdoors next door,” he says. “They have to look at what they do have, and things like parks and trails and green space are all assets that people are willing to pay more to be located near."

5. Call for Federal Investment in Public Transit
The Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation has released a paper that examines the implications of sustained government investment in developing public transit infrastructure. This paper brings to light the fact that Canada is the only G7 economy that does not provide dedicated funding for municipal public transit systems. The goal of the paper is to call for the development of a national policy framework for public transit.