Published on Mon Sep 29 2014
Re: Homebuyers want to have walkable communities, Opinion Sept. 27
Homebuyers want to have walkable communities, Opinion Sept. 27
To introduce “walkable communities” in Toronto is a praiseworthy idea that has long been advocated in this city. However, the conflict is not between urban and suburban residents, but in the mentality of comfort in status quo by prioritizing driving vs all other modes of transportation.
Sadly, this conflict is further exacerbated and prolonged by the ambivalence of our city planning in proclaiming to transform the city, yet not adhering to the concept. Jennifer Keesmaat’s declaration on what pertains to “walkable” is semantics in an exercise of distraction and disarrangement of the very notion of walkable cities around the world.
Walkability does not refer to the walking distance to public transit, nor to the assurance that crossing the street on green light will not get you killed. It refers to infrastructure change in the design of car-free areas in a city, to acquire a people-friendly urban environment that creates social cohesiveness and a liveable city. To eliminate air, noise and visual pollution that have drastically compromised our health and quality of life.
Cities in Europe and around the world have successfully implemented car-free areas demonstrating an innovative and progressive vision as the best environmental design in improving public life and alleviating congestion without limiting mobility, while the economic commerce of a city along with the value of its real estate, are increased by pedestrianization.
Lela Gary, Air Pollution Coalition