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Old 05-24-2014, 06:54 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 caphillsea77 View Post

Vancouver's topography pretty much forced higher density growth given that its wedged between the mountains and the sea. It's probably a good thing a freeway never went through the middle of the downtown peninsula and right through Stanley Park.
Stanley has an arterial road going through the middle of it. Since there's not much to bypass it's a bit freeway like even though it's narrower with a few lights. But at least the waterfront of the park is road-free. Would have ruined the appeal with the rubble of traffic.

Quote:
Is Calgary all that dense or does it have American sunbelt kind of sprawl? They have decent enough light rail transit connections for a city of its size, but it also seems to have a lot of crosstown freeways or "trails" as they call them.
Calgary is definitely less dense than Vancouver, Seattle might be a better match. Its outer suburbs look compacter than Seattle's would be:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Ca...6d3bb1b652b63a

this looks more typical

https://www.google.com/maps/@51.0999...khdHAZsTvA!2e0

Its light rail has higher use than any North American city, almost double that of Portland despite half the population. It's probably walkable in the sense it's not unsafe to walk, but many of the commercial districts outside of downtown are designed for cars and the density is low enough most won't walk. The light rail is more of a commuter service than say the heavy/light rail in Boston, which connects more pedestrian oriented neighborhoods.

Last edited by nei; 05-24-2014 at 07:11 AM..
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Old 05-24-2014, 08:40 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
I was focusing on Ontario, I do think Quebec has more. So for Ontario, yes, there are several freeways heading into Toronto, but is it as much as if it was an American city? It's certainly a lot less than Dallas which has a similar population, although admittedly DFW is the freeway capital of the world...

I think I've made a decent case that outside Toronto, Ontario cities have fewer freeways than American cities of similar size.

So for Toronto, maybe we could compare to cities like Philadelphia, Boston, DC, Atlanta, Miami, Houston which are similar in size (D.F.W. is similar in population too, but it seems like it's well above even the American average).
All Canadian cities are not the same and all US cities are not the same. I wouldn't compare Philly and Boston to Atlanta or Houston - two sunbelt cities that were built out mostly after WWII. I certainly wouldn't compare Toronto and Montreal to Atlanta and Charlotte.

If you want to compare Vancouver to Portland and Seattle - that would make sense. If you want to compare Toronto and Ottawa to Boston, Philly, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Hartford, etc. that would also make sense.

I'd agree that Kitchener has fewer freeway miles than Syracuse but like I said before, when you drive past Syracuse in any direction you're going to hit Albany or Rochester or Binghamton or Watertown in 90 minutes or less. When you drive past Kitchener going north or south you're going to hit . . . not a whole heck of a lot but I can bet you anything if there was a city of 1 million 90 minutes north of Kitchener and another city of about 500,000 down on Lake Erie that there would be a n/s freeway connecting both of them with Kitchener and the whole system would look a lot more like the one in Syracuse.
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Old 05-24-2014, 11:42 AM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
I'd agree that Kitchener has fewer freeway miles than Syracuse but like I said before, when you drive past Syracuse in any direction you're going to hit Albany or Rochester or Binghamton or Watertown in 90 minutes or less. When you drive past Kitchener going north or south you're going to hit . . . not a whole heck of a lot but I can bet you anything if there was a city of 1 million 90 minutes north of Kitchener and another city of about 500,000 down on Lake Erie that there would be a n/s freeway connecting both of them with Kitchener and the whole system would look a lot more like the one in Syracuse.
Or maybe you'd just have an extension of highway 85 to the North, and connect the city on Lake Erie to the 403 (but not K-W-C). After all, Guelph would be less than 15 minutes by freeway from Kitchener, and it's significantly bigger than Watertown and not that much smaller than Binghampton, but there's no connection. Brantford has no connection to Kitchener either, it would be about 30 minutes by freeway. And finally Hamilton would be only 30-45 minutes by freeway from Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph, but there's no freeway in between them. A freeway to Hamilton would not only connect to a city of 500,000 but to another 400,000 if you continue to Niagara Region and the US border (about 70-80 minutes if there were a freeway) and then Buffalo (less than 2 hours if there were a freeway).

Still, the Syracuse freeway system's size is about more than just connecting to Rochester, Utica, Albany, Watertown and Binghampton. That only justifies the existence of I-81 and I-90, it doesn't justify I-481, I-690, or the freeway bypass of what looks like the original highway 5 alignment (Genesee St), and then the connection of the highway 5 bypass to I-690. I'm not sure what the point of these might be other than to induce suburban development.

Kitchener on the other hand only has one highway that appears to be intended to induce sprawl/serve suburbs, highway 8 between King Street and New Hamburg.

Last edited by memph; 05-24-2014 at 12:19 PM..
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Old 05-24-2014, 08:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
Suburban areas (and rural areas) in the south tend to not have sidewalks. Where I lived in South Carolina, sidewalks were the exception not the norm. They didn't even put in sidewalks until phase 3 of our neighborhood, and none of the neighboring ones had sidewalks at all.
Hmm. I have been to Dallas/Ft. Worth, New Orleans, Shreveport, Monroe, Orlando, Tampa, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Daytona, and Atlanta. All the suburban areas I visited in these cities had sidewalks.
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Old 05-25-2014, 02:19 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
Or maybe you'd just have an extension of highway 85 to the North, and connect the city on Lake Erie to the 403 (but not K-W-C). After all, Guelph would be less than 15 minutes by freeway from Kitchener, and it's significantly bigger than Watertown and not that much smaller than Binghampton, but there's no connection. Brantford has no connection to Kitchener either, it would be about 30 minutes by freeway. And finally Hamilton would be only 30-45 minutes by freeway from Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph, but there's no freeway in between them. A freeway to Hamilton would not only connect to a city of 500,000 but to another 400,000 if you continue to Niagara Region and the US border (about 70-80 minutes if there were a freeway) and then Buffalo (less than 2 hours if there were a freeway).
All of those Canadian cities are half the size of their NY counterparts (and btw - there is a planned 400-series freeway to connect Kitchener with Brantford). The demand just isn't the same. The only places within Canada that southern Ontarians are driving to in big numbers are northeast towards Toronto, Montreal, and QC. Driving from Toronto to Winnipeg would be like driving from Philly to Denver with eff all in between. You don't have millions of people and goods passing through your province heading west. If Sarnia was the size of Vancouver things would look a lot different.

If you don't have the need for a big interstate system then you don't have a need for bypasses and circumferential roads designed to keep trucks and through traffic from going through the heart of the city particularly during peak periods.


Quote:
Kitchener on the other hand only has one highway that appears to be intended to induce sprawl/serve suburbs, highway 8 between King Street and New Hamburg.
I don't see highways 8 or 85 as being intended to induce sprawl but rather to connect the urban areas with 401.
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Old 05-25-2014, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
All of those Canadian cities are half the size of their NY counterparts (and btw - there is a planned 400-series freeway to connect Kitchener with Brantford). The demand just isn't the same. The only places within Canada that southern Ontarians are driving to in big numbers are northeast towards Toronto, Montreal, and QC. Driving from Toronto to Winnipeg would be like driving from Philly to Denver with eff all in between. You don't have millions of people and goods passing through your province heading west. If Sarnia was the size of Vancouver things would look a lot different.

If you don't have the need for a big interstate system then you don't have a need for bypasses and circumferential roads designed to keep trucks and through traffic from going through the heart of the city particularly during peak periods.




I don't see highways 8 or 85 as being intended to induce sprawl but rather to connect the urban areas with 401.
Kitchener and Syracuse are similar in size, and Hamilton is about the size of Albany-Schenectady-Troy, and almost as big as Rochester. How many urban areas does the US have that have 500,000 people each and are 30-40 miles apart with no freeway connection? Or an urban area of 120,000 with no connection to one of 500,000 just 15 miles away?

In what way would things be different if Sarnia was the size of Vancouver? There's already a highway going to Sarnia from London/Toronto, and one from Sarnia to Detroit (on the US side). I guess you'd have new highway from Sarnia going South to Chatham-Kent/Essex County. Not sure if you'd have much more than that though (Greater Vancouver has relatively few highways).

My main point though is not that Ontario has fewer highways connecting cities but that it has fewer highways within cities. IMO part of the reason Ontario has fewer bypasses and such is that the Ontario government didn't build its original freeways through the hearts of cities in the first place. They were designed to avoid cities, probably so that they wouldn't be clogged with rush hour commuter traffic. Highway 401 avoids going through the middle of Cambridge, Kitchener, London, Windsor, Kingston, 400 Barrie (when it was built at least), 403 avoided going through the middle of Brantford, the QEW/403 tried to avoid Hamilton, highway 401 and 427 did avoid going through the middle of Toronto when they were built. It's only after the GTA, and some other cities (ex Barrie) grew explosively that some sections of these highways got surrounded by development.

Much of the interstates were built right through the middle of American cities so obviously they get clogged with commuter traffic and need bypasses pretty much as soon as they get built without the city even having to experience any growth. In some cases, that bypass soon gets surrounded by sprawl and maybe you need another bypass or expansion of some sort.

And I doubt the Kitchener-Brantford highway will get built anytime soon, every highway department has their dream plans in case they get an unlimited amount of funding.

Highway 7/8's Eastern portion in Kitchener wasn't very developed when it was built, nor was it connected to the 401 at that time. And especially in the case of the extension beyond Kitchener to Baden/New Hamburg, that seems unnecessary to me since those are towns of about 5000 people (probably 2000 people when it was built).
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Old 05-25-2014, 01:14 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, Canada
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Just IMO but Canadian cities aren't necessarily more pedestrian friendly, though there has been a big cultural push towards that. "Density" and "walkability" are absolutely buzz words in urban planning, at least on the surface, what-the-public hears, level.

San Francisco is infinitely more walkable than, say, Edmonton. In general all the prairie cities are very much car-towns, and it's hard to blame them considering that for half the year it's not exactly the most welcoming sort of climate.

Vancouver is very pedestrian friendly and transit oriented, I'll grant you that, but even as nearby as, say Port Coquitlam, or Ladner, and your life is very hemmed in without a car.
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Old 05-25-2014, 04:05 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 15 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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^^Is it time to say, "Never start a thread with 'Why' "? It's begging the question, as the posts from the Canadians make clear.
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Old 05-25-2014, 07:01 PM
 
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If Toronto were an American city, it probably would have been more like this:

Cancelled expressways in Toronto - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Spadina Expressway would have gone through the heart of the Annex, an area of late 19th and early 20th century townhouses that was recaptured by the professional middle classes in the 1960s; the area was (and is) home to many professors at the nearby University of Toronto and a lot of leading "creative class" figures. Not sure if a "Stop Spadina" movement would have strong enough had it occurred in say, 1960 instead of 1970.
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Old 05-26-2014, 09:10 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ottawa2011 View Post
Fewer expressways, combined with the fact that more people tend to live in the core of Canadian cities, in contrast to many U.S. cities. Canadian downtowns generally aren't ghost towns on weekends, but that seems to be a persistent problem with a few U.S. cities. Maybe the lower crime rate in downtown areas is a factor, people arent scared to venture downtown on evenings or weekends. Canada does have similar issues with urban sprawl, though, and extensive suburbs that require either a car or public transit if you live there.
I think in the US we discouraged downtown residential, which is required to have a seven day a week neighborhood. My city's downtown is pretty disconnected. There are pockets of activity separated by blocks of dead zones particularly on the weekend. It's becoming more of nightlife center these days.

But let's just say even the most timid urban cyclist would find plenty of streets to ride on downtown. My own neighborhood requires way more skill to navigate on your bike than downtown. When you go by the city buildings on the weekend there might as well be tumbleweeds. Taking the lane or even 2 isn't an issue. And most pedestrians jaywalk.
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