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Old 05-20-2014, 06:14 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Newer data is here:

Table 1.a Proportion of workers commuting to work by car, truck or van, by public transit, on foot, or by bicycle, census metropolitan areas, 2011

Note Vancouver's transit share has risen to 19.7% [metro-wide].
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Old 05-20-2014, 07:53 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Most of the expressways within cities were meant for local, or at least regional traffic. If the US were the Northeast Corridor and only a few scattered, the within expressway system might be the same.
That's exactly the comparison I just made.

Quote:
Toronto has one giant expressway but doesn't really as big a network as most American cities of similar size would have.
Toronto only has one expressway that runs through downtown - the Gardiner - but the GTA has a lot of expressways.
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Old 05-20-2014, 08:05 AM
 
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Originally Posted by nei View Post
That's looking at work trips, which is more based of how close people are to work. Comparing Toronto with Boston looking at city limits is silly, Toronto includes about half of its metro while Boston is much smaller. Looking at metro-wide stats, there's little overlap:

Transit/walk/bike commute mode share for selected Canadian/American cities/metros - SkyscraperPage Forum

Everybody uses JTW data because it's easy to collect. As long as you compare JTW to JTW there's no problem.

20% transit mode share for Van. doesn't exactly prove the premise in the OP - that "canadian cities are more walkable" especially with Van. being the poster child for Canadian planning.
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Old 05-20-2014, 09:35 AM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
Granted, a lot of US cities really effed up their downtowns by driving freeways/interstates right through them but Canadian cities also suffered from a similar pattern of urban flight from the 50s-80s and had a lot of half-baked renewal schemes.

Vancouver especially was a completely different place 30 years ago.

Canadians didn't build an interstate system not because they're smarter than Americans - the Canadians didn't build them because their country is enormous with 1/10 the population of the US. Toronto to Winnipeg is a 25 hour drive. 21 hours if you cut through the northern tier of the US. The closest cities west of there - Regina and Calgary - are 8.5 hours apart.

Where the cities in Canada are closer together - Windsor/London/Hamilton/Toronto/Ottawa/Montreal/Quebec you have a freeway system pretty much the same as what you'd see in the US

http://www.blogto.com/upload/2012/12...diner-East.jpg

If the population of the US was just the Northeast Corridor, Kansas City, Denver, SLC, Boise, and Portland we wouldn't have an interstate system either.
It's not just inter-city interstates that connect cities to each other, but also intra-city highways. How many cities with 360,000 people in the urban area have just one highway that skirts around the suburban outskirts like London? So far I've yet to find any with 350k+ that have so few highways.

Windsor is not quite as unusual, but still on the low end, compare to Davenport, IA which is a similar size.

Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge is definitely on the low end too, compare to Little Rock, Des Moines, Syracuse, Wichita, Harrisburg... but Provo-Orem and Lancaster have a similar population and highway network.

Then there's Hamilton, Tulsa or Omaha have much bigger highway networks. Plus Hamilton has no highway into the city centre, which is pretty unusual in the U.S. for a city its size. Although McAllen or Sarasota have fewer freeways, I'd still Hamilton still has fewer than average.

St Catharines-Niagara Falls is a bit below average, though not by much. Fayetteville, AR has fewer freeways (although the total length is about the same), but Lansing seems to have quite a bit more.

Toronto has a fair bit, but I'm pretty sure it's still less than Philadelphia and way less than D.F.W. Miami might be similar for its size (~10-20% smaller), and D.C. might be similar too although the network is laid out differently so it's hard to say for sure. It is fairly uncommon for a city it's size (even a fraction of it's size) to have basically just one highway going through downtown (and just 6 lanes wide).

Ottawa's is a bit smaller than Bridgeport and Buffalo's, smaller than Raleigh and Hartford's, much smaller than Richmond, Oklahoma City and Nashville's.

So all in all, it's below average.

I think part of it is the way population is distributed. In U.S., with many cities, you'll have major cities to the west, south, north, east... every direction. In the Canadian cities, you typically don't have any major cities nearby, just a couple far a way, and some small (<100k pop) cities closer. Even in Southern Ontario, most cities are strung along the 401 corridor, and you just need a few stubs to connect to the cities that aren't.

Still, if you look at a city like Omaha, I think highways like GAR Hwy, I-480, I-680 and the North Fwy likely wouldn't have been built. American cities tend to have a lot more freeways that were not built to connect cities, but merely to connect suburbs, or by-pass freeways that would have provided adequate intercity connections if they weren't as congested.

I feel like a lot of the original freeways in the U.S. went straight through downtown (or very close), which made them likely to get congested (and require bypasses). The Ontario government wasn't really in the business of building these sorts of highways, the vast majority of their highways were designed to avoid city centres and rather go around the outskirts. So a need for bypass highways only arose in the biggest, fastest growing city, Toronto, where the sprawl eventually chocked the 401 with traffic. Also, urban highways, which were never meant to serve inter-city travel demands, were funded largely by municipalities in Canada. That meant the city residents would be more or less paying for them directly through taxes or tolls, making them more reluctant to pay. Plus highways tearing through urban neighbourhoods were probably less likely to get support based on neighbourhood impact and higher cost. I think that's probably why the highways that did get built followed less dense industrial areas and ravines (Gardiner and DVP in Toronto), or were built on the suburban outskirts (Lincoln M. Alexander in Hamilton, Conestoga Pkwy in Kitchener-Waterloo, E.C. Row in Windsor).
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Old 05-20-2014, 09:55 AM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post



Toronto only has one expressway that runs through downtown - the Gardiner - but the GTA has a lot of expressways.
A lot compared to where? Yes, there are several, but American cities of a similar size would probably have even more, especially in the Midwest. Take Kansas City, about 1/3 the size but it seems to have about as many highways. Incidentally, it also covers about the same land area, despite again being at most just 1/3 the size.
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Old 05-20-2014, 10:03 AM
 
Location: East of the Sun, West of the Moon
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I only have experience with a handful of Canadian cities, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec, Halifax, and some smaller cities in the eastern provinces.

I would say that the walkability is pretty much the same as their neighbor cities in the American Northeast and Great Lakes states.
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Old 05-20-2014, 10:18 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ABQConvict View Post
I only have experience with a handful of Canadian cities, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec, Halifax, and some smaller cities in the eastern provinces.

I would say that the walkability is pretty much the same as their neighbor cities in the American Northeast and Great Lakes states.
How many American cities of the same size are as walkable as Halifax? No upstate NY city is. Nor smaller New England city.
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Old 05-20-2014, 10:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by nei View Post
How many American cities of the same size are as walkable as Halifax? No upstate NY city is. Nor smaller New England city.
Burlington, VT is pretty walkable. So is Portland, ME.

I grew up in Toronto, it's not walkable. Most of Montreal isn't either except for right downtown and Old Montreal. Vancouver BC is somewhat walkable but no more than Seattle, but Calgary and Edmonton aren't at all. Quebec City is in the old section but it isn't much of a city. I really don't think there's any comparison here. NYC, Boston, Portland OR, and San Francisco are all more walkable than the big cities in Canada.
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Old 05-20-2014, 12:27 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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Originally Posted by hml1976 View Post
Burlington, VT is pretty walkable. So is Portland, ME.

I grew up in Toronto, it's not walkable. Most of Montreal isn't either except for right downtown and Old Montreal. Vancouver BC is somewhat walkable but no more than Seattle, but Calgary and Edmonton aren't at all. Quebec City is in the old section but it isn't much of a city. I really don't think there's any comparison here. NYC, Boston, Portland OR, and San Francisco are all more walkable than the big cities in Canada.
NYC sure, but Portland more walkable than Montreal?... Are you saying places like the Plateau, Verdun, Villeray, Rosemont, Outremont aren't walkable? Even Cotes-des-Neiges, Saint-Michel, Hochelaga, Maisonneuve, Parc Extension are pretty walkable imo. Maybe you just drove into downtown from Brossard (which I grant is not too walkable). I certainly think that walkability extends further from Downtown, for Montreal and Toronto, as well as Vancouver, compared to Portland. Even Edmonton, Calgary and Ottawa have main street type areas outside downtown.

Though I'd say Canadian cities have a comparable amount of auto-oriented suburbia, which is to say a lot, and it's not a very nice environment to walk in... I would also say the urban cores are in better shape and that makes them a bit more walkable, especially compared to Great Lakes cities.

Based on the links Nei provided

%Walking to work (% biking in parentheses) by metro area

Halifax: 8.5 (1.1)
Vancouver: 6.3 (1.8)
Ottawa: 6.3 (2.2)
Quebec: 6.2 (1.2)
New York: 5.9 (0.5)
Boston: 5.4 (0.7)
Montreal: 5.3 (1.7)
Calgary: 4.9 (1.2)
Toronto: 4.6 (1.2)
San Francisco: 4.2 (1.7)
Philadelphia: 4.1 (0.6)
Edmonton: 4.1 (1.1)
Pittsburg: 3.7 (0.3)
Washington: 3.5 (0.5)
Seattle: 3.5 (1.1)
Portland: 3.3 (2.2)
Providence: 3.2 (0.5)
Chicago: 3.1 (0.6)
Buffalo: 3.0 (0.3)
Milwaukee: 2.6 (0.5)
Detroit: 1.4 (0.2)
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Old 05-20-2014, 01:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jambo101 View Post
Also people actually live in the Canadian cities whereas many American downtown cores (not all)are just a collection of office buildings that become vacant after office hours and every one heads to the suburbs leaving many American downtowns vacant after business hours.
Canadian suburbs are filled with the typical big box stores and strip malls, but somehow sprawl didn't kill the downtowns in Canada. People there still go downtown for dining, shopping and leisure.
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