So, the title above is absolutely no surprise to anyone. How you get around, how cities interact with their modes of transit, these are innately political questions. Last week it was widely reported that taxi drivers in the city of Toronto are being targeted for ticketing by police and bylaw officers. See the article from the Toronto Star here about the level of ticketing that’s been happening on our streets. In addition, a few weeks back taxi drivers were banned from using the Toronto Island Airports terminal bathrooms on the grounds that they weren’t respecting them. Porta potties have been provided on site.
The question of transit and how we design cities is complex. It was only a few weeks before the issue with the Island Airport bathrooms that the PTA of the public school located across the street from the airport terminal was complaining about the dangers to their students when there’s such a high level of taxi traffic in that district. Essentially the island airport has too small of a footprint for its level of usage and everyone is being impacted at this point.
It calls into question why we seem to have such a difficult relationship with taxis in our city. Are we essentially a city for car owners and no one else? What do you think?
Andy McKim and I were at the MOVE exhibit at the Evergreen Brick Works two weekends ago. It presented a fascinating vision of how we could change transit within this city. Some of the more interesting ideas were essentially personal pods that link up into collectively powered “trains of pods” along major transit routes like the Gardiner. They were computer driven, so you would travel part of your own path and partially with the group in order to save energy and reduce traffic congestion caused by accidents and differing speeds of travel. (please note this is a vast summary, gathered from reading while also tending to my four year old. If your understanding is more nuanced, please,please provide it!). We were both inspired by the alternate visions at play and the sense that we can overcome our challenges and move forward with collective will.