By Nicholas Kevlahan
Published August 12, 2011
I was dismayed by Chris Murray's comments reported in the Spectator that "we were going to finish the work that we were asked to finish."
The Metrolinx contract was supposed to help the City with its own LRT planning, not replace it.
A major and vital part of the City's planning was the land use study that complemented the engineering alignment study, but was not included in the contract with Metrolinx.
This study has involved a huge amount of consultation with residents and businesses along the line, as well as potential developers, and was supposed to be presented to Council in March 2012.
Metrolinx has been very complimentary about the land use study, and has cited it as a model of how to do rapid transit planning right.
Apparently, the land use study has been cancelled and the planners taken off this project.
Not only is the land use study necessary to get the maximum economic development from LRT by identifying development opportunities and barriers, it would have been useful even if we didn't get LRT because it would have suggested zoning change to make mixed-use higher density development more attractive along the Main/King corridor.
On a personal note as a former member of the Rapid Transit Citizens Advisory Committee (RTCAC), the land use study occupied well over half the time of the RTCAC (there was even a land-use sub-committee that met separately from the whole committee). This work is now largely wasted.
I encourage Council in the strongest possible terms to fight to keep the land use study and allow the planners to finish the work they started.
The Mayor has said he wants all the information on LRT before making a decision, and the land use study, which helps quantify potential economic impact and allows residents and businesses input, is a vital part of that information.
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