Tag Archive | mass transit

It’s hard to live in the city

When I’m not moonlighting as a millionaire-playboy transit enthusiast, I have a day job as a mild-mannered policy analyst.  Sometimes, however, my alter egos overlap and I find some pretty cool stuff.

I came across this research from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Services when I attended a presentation by one of the authors, Dr. Richard Glazier.  The study utilizes a whole whack of data, ranging from Stats Can to City of Toronto GIS data.  It looks at diabetes prevalence across Toronto, and adds a whole bunch of fun map layers.

Most interesting is the links that are drawn between diabetes prevalence and how the urban form contributes to it.  The authors developed a measure termed the “Activity Friendly Index (AFI).”  Basically it combines a number of indicators (crime rates, income levels, car dependency, land use) which can be used to rate an area on how easy it is to be healthy.

The result? The lower the AFI score, the worse health problems an area will have.  Check out some of these maps.

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Much delayed Toronto subway extension a go

It appears that the federal government has finally gotten their house in order and is getting much needed funding to the Province of Ontario after 2 years of stalling by the Harper government. The feds are chipping in their $697-million share of the $2-billion dollar Spadina subway extension, according to the Toronto Star.

Any subway extension is good news in my book (even the poorly conceived and pointless Sheppard line, but barely), but this stretch is especially important to Toronto. Take a look at the proposed extension below (for the full view, check out my subway map here):

Image courtesy of Spadina Subway Extension Project

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The ‘burbs have gone bust

I thought I’d share a recent report from Joe Cortright (CEOs for Cities) titled Driven to the Brink: How the Gas Price Spike Popped the Housing Bubble and Devalued the Suburbs.  Urban sprawl and transportation issues are one of my favorite topics, so this report was right up my alley.

You can find the full report here, but for those of you too lazy to click I’ll highlight some of the interesting bits.

Basically Cortright’s analysis find that the recent collapse of the U.S. housing market has partially obscured an even “tectonic shift in housing demand.”  The report finds that housing price declines “are generally far more sever in far-flung suburbs and in metropolitan areas with weak close-in neighborhoods” and:

 “Housing in cities and neighborhoods that require lengthy commutes and provide few transportation alternatives to the private vehicle are falling in value more precipitously than in more central, compact and accessible places.”

Basically, all you chumps who bought into the idea of living in the 5,000 sq ft house out in the suburbs are majorly screwed and cities that have good transit are better able to withstand the housing collapse.

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