Transit-Oriented Communities: Why We Need Them And How We Can Make Them Happen.


Matti Siemiatycki and Drew Fagan from the University of Toronto wrote an interesting white paper on development near major transit hubs in Ontarion.  Here is an excerpt:

The provincial Places to Grow regional growth plan and Metrolinx’s Big Move that date back about 15 years both mandate the concentration of growth in transitoriented nodes. This strategic vision was reinforced by the 2011 publication of Metrolinx’s Mobility Hub Guidelines, which provides detailed urban form and design direction.

More recently, the terminology at Queen’s Park has shifted from transit-oriented development to transit-oriented communities. This subtle distinction highlights that the goal is not merely to spur any development adjacent to transit, but rather to create complete communities. In 2019, Metrolinx’s updated 2041 Regional Transportation Plan identified Urban Growth Centres throughout the region, committing that the “GTHA will have a sustainable transportation system that is aligned with land use, and supports healthy and complete communities.”

The updated 2020 Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe further prioritizes “intensification and higher densities in strategic growth areas.”8 The Transit-Oriented Communities Act has been described by government officials as a key step toward just this kind of development. But the act’s lack of detail – it is just six brief sections long – raises questions about the act’s intent, including the fact that it includes no definition of what might constitute a transit-oriented community beyond saying that it is a development project “of any nature or kind” connected to the planned transit lines. This means that the ultimate impact of the act just may be to clear the way toward faster development in which the first D (density) dominates at the expense of the other two Ds (diversity of land uses and design).

Here is a link to the entire paper: Transit Oriented Communities