News   Jul 12, 2024
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Toronto, Capital of North America?

Oddly enough, there are signs all around Stockholm proclaiming itself the "capital of Scandinavia". Fairly sure it's a self described title...
 
Title of this thread is so cringe worthy

As is this ridiculous post that started it all.
The North American continent appears to be entering a twilight of cities past anything Jane Jacobs could have foreseen. I don't see any reason to think that Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Memphis, New Orleans, Montreal or any of a hundred smaller American and Canadian cities will do anything other than fall further and further into complete decay; centers such as Boston, Portland and San Francisco are barely holding steady numbers; New York and Los Angeles face the challenges of decaying infrastructure and growing social disorder; cities in Mexico are arguably in even worse shape; and most Canadian and American cities with healthy growth are dependent on commodities economies (Houston, Calgary).

Is Toronto, with diverse economic growth, social stability and riding an even-handed development wave, positioned to become the alpha city for the whole continent? (Before we get the chorus that New York is bigger, let me remind you that Sao Paulo is bigger than New York and no one, not even the Brazilians, would posit that it is more important for that reason alone.)

Yes, the above is hyperbole to an extent. But it may be less and less so if the global economy goes into another slump.
 
As is this ridiculous post that started it all.

I do worry a bit about NYC. For a top tier city in a highly developed economy, their infrastructure, and transportation infrastructure in particular, is in a terrible state. The MTA metro in particular might be in a worse state than any other large system in the developed world. We already have seen Hurricane Sandy knock out one of NYCs main subway lines for a year. Its not inconceivable that higher sea levels threatening much of NYC, combined with the potential for stronger and more frequent hurricanes, could knock out service on multiple NYC metro lines simultaneously for extended periods of time. This is precisely the kind of thing that can decimate the future of a city.
 
I do worry a bit about NYC. For a top tier city in a highly developed economy, their infrastructure, and transportation infrastructure in particular, is in a terrible state. The MTA metro in particular might be in a worse state than any other large system in the developed world. We already have seen Hurricane Sandy knock out one of NYCs main subway lines for a year. Its not inconceivable that higher sea levels threatening much of NYC, combined with the potential for stronger and more frequent hurricanes, could knock out service on multiple NYC metro lines simultaneously for extended periods of time. This is precisely the kind of thing that can decimate the future of a city.
I was appalled at the state of the NYC subway the first time I rode it. It's absolutely filthy and the stations in the summer are sweltering. Floors looks like they haven't been swept in months, signage is confusing and dated, and the amount of exposed pipes, wires, etc. makes TTC stations look like palaces. If that's what the public areas of the system look like I can only imagine what's going on behind the scenes. To see the transit system of one of the world's most important cities deprived of the funds for even basic maintenance is really sad.
 
I was appalled at the state of the NYC subway the first time I rode it. It's absolutely filthy and the stations in the summer are sweltering. Floors looks like they haven't been swept in months, signage is confusing and dated, and the amount of exposed pipes, wires, etc. makes TTC stations look like palaces. If that's what the public areas of the system look like I can only imagine what's going on behind the scenes. To see the transit system of one of the world's most important cities deprived of the funds for even basic maintenance is really sad.

Though to put it in perspective, New York of now is miles ahead of the city the late 70s, early 80s when it was flirting with bankruptcy.

AoD
 
I was appalled at the state of the NYC subway the first time I rode it. It's absolutely filthy and the stations in the summer are sweltering. Floors looks like they haven't been swept in months, signage is confusing and dated, and the amount of exposed pipes, wires, etc. makes TTC stations look like palaces. If that's what the public areas of the system look like I can only imagine what's going on behind the scenes. To see the transit system of one of the world's most important cities deprived of the funds for even basic maintenance is really sad.

Though to put it in perspective, New York of now is miles ahead of the city the late 70s, early 80s when it was flirting with bankruptcy.

AoD

As nice as that is, I fear that the city is not willing to make the investments to continue improving. State of good repair and service reliability on the MTA subway are dire (far more so than the TTC), yet NY seems to be in no rush to improve. NYC is working on modernizing the signalling system on its lines, but after twenty years of work, this process has been completed on just one line. In comparison, London (whose system is even older than NYC) has modernized the signalling on four of its subway lines.

At least in London or Toronto, commuters can be content knowing major reliability improvements are around the corner. NYC seems largely content with maintaining the status quo
 
As nice as that is, I fear that the city is not willing to make the investments to continue improving. State of good repair and service reliability on the MTA subway are dire (far more so than the TTC), yet NY seems to be in no rush to improve. NYC is working on modernizing the signalling system on its lines, but after twenty years of work, this process has been completed on just one line. In comparison, London (whose system is even older than NYC) has modernized the signalling on four of its subway lines.

At least in London or Toronto, commuters can be content knowing major reliability improvements are around the corner. NYC seems largely content with maintaining the status quo

I wouldn't gloat about it - we only have two subway lines and we have just managed to re-signal one.

AoD
 
New here

Although I am nervous of posting here, I think Toronto and six other GTA municipalities need to get a special administrative region (Hong Kong-like) status within Canada. To be honest, the Toronto SAR would have everything that a country has except for foreign affairs. Can that even work for Canada's largest city?
 
I wouldn't gloat about it - we only have two subway lines and we have just managed to re-signal one.

AoD

Technically - technically - there are three subway lines and that RT thing.

New here

Although I am nervous of posting here, I think Toronto and six other GTA municipalities need to get a special administrative region (Hong Kong-like) status within Canada. To be honest, the Toronto SAR would have everything that a country has except for foreign affairs. Can that even work for Canada's largest city?

I agree, but it would need Ontario to go along with that and... that won't happen. Queen's Park won't even let the city levy road tolls.
 
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I find Christopher Hume to be stuck in a bit of navel-gazing rut in his recent work. Not surprising he is still complaining about fights two decades ago.

The issues causing us the greatest problems today would still exist either way. And given that it sometimes the downtown Councillors that are most suspicious of urbanity, I find it difficult to blame 1997 for the lack of civic ambition today.
 
I find Christopher Hume to be stuck in a bit of navel-gazing rut in his recent work. Not surprising he is still complaining about fights two decades ago.

The issues causing us the greatest problems today would still exist either way. And given that it sometimes the downtown Councillors that are most suspicious of urbanity, I find it difficult to blame 1997 for the lack of civic ambition today.

And he should look at what the current areas outside of Toronto are doing. Mississauga, Hamilton and KW will get LRT's. York Region has a BRT. Each of these cities are building urban forms in specific areas. They all had the same mindset as Toronto back in 1997 and now look where they are.

I wonder if both Etobicoke CC, NYCC and Scarborough Town Center would have been a different urban form right now? Did the amalgamation slow down their growth and the potential to spread the economic wealth and jobs from the financial district to other areas of Toronto? Did it accelerate the decline of Rexdale and the other outer areas of Toronto?
 

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