Inclusive City Planning
Entrepreneurs can spend years turning ideas into reality all in the name of making life easier and more enjoyable. Oddly enough, entrepreneurs are not the ones who dictate product success, the community does. On October 22, 2018, the community members of Scarborough, Ontario will have the opportunity to decide on the councillor that will speak for them when it comes to the longstanding Subway vs. Light Rapid Transit (LRT) debate.
Community Organizer, Jamaal Myers, knows all too well the challenges that can result when inclusivity isn’t top of mind in city planning. As a young boy, he was forced to move in with his aunt so that he could avoid the 2-hour commute to his part-time job that afforded him the ability to attend and graduate from law school. After passing the bar and working for a firm in New York City, he felt drawn back to Toronto to address the importance of inclusive city planning.
Having the opportunity to travel the world and experience some of the best transit motivated him to refocus his efforts on ensuring that the vulnerable members of the city are as much of a priority as the well-to-do.
Inclusive city planning is defined as creating sustainable, accessible, and affordable solutions to the challenges faced by vulnerable groups by enhancing their access to services and infrastructure through targeted investments. (Asian Development Bank toolkit). Myers believes that the LRT provides an opening for the city to adequately address Scarborough transit and traffic challenges while the one-stop subway raises concerns because only about 1/4 of transit riders are actually going downtown. Up to 75 per cent of Scarborough transit riders use public transportation within Scarborough boundaries, often for daily errands like Dr appointments, grocery shopping or visiting friends.
The creation of 50 LRT stops would give 125 thousand people the ability to walk to rapid transit for the first time; although the implementation of a subway station is useful we need to consider if the LRT would be beneficial to more community members.
It’s now up to the residents living in Scarborough to voice their opinion by voting (https://www.toronto.ca/city-government/elections/voter-information/) on Monday, October 22.
For information about councillors who support the LRT check out http://scarboroughtransitaction.ca/