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GREENINGS: Greater density along transit hubs is good for all of us (May 2024)

June 14th, 2024 · No Comments

Mandating no cars under new builds is the way forward

It is very exciting to see the development of the old Honest Ed’s site almost come online. It means there will be more people in this city living close to transit. It means there will be more people in this neighbourhood to sustain the small businesses that make this neighbourhood liveable. We need to support high-density housing projects in this neighbourhood, but we have to make sure that these new projects come with zero new parking spots. We want walkers, cyclists, and transit users. We don’t want to be home to more polluting drivers who make the city dirty and dangerous.

In case you haven’t noticed, cars make cities terrible places. You would not fear for your kids running around outside if it weren’t for cars potentially mowing them over any minute. Cars make us miserable people. Study after study shows us that cars induce anti-social behaviours and make us horrible people. Why do we keep doing this to ourselves? It’s self-punishment of the highest order.

The Annex has four subway stations in the area; if we can’t build a car-free community, nobody can. Sadly, cars still dominate our otherwise amazing neighbourhood. Our community suffers so much from the ’70s-era legacy of prioritizing seconds of vehicular travel time over the health and safety of our children. We do not want to be a drive-through zone for people trying to get to a Jays game fast. We want this neighbourhood to be safe for kids to play ball hockey and throw a frisbee: that is what should be prioritized. Who cares if cars take an extra minute to get to the game? They should take 60 extra minutes to get to game. Drivers should be incentivized to get out of their cars and onto transit, and aside from making the cost of transit cheaper than parking, (right now it isn’t) driving should also be slower and a pain in the rear.

Making all this happen requires tremendous political will. The most pro-climate action you can take at this point is to get politically active at every level. A few things you can do for starters is to write to our city councillor, Dianne Saxe ( and let her know that you support high-density neighbourhoods but demand no new parking spots. Also, let her know you want to see all beg buttons a thing of the past. Beg buttons are what advocates call the crosswalk buttons that pedestrians push to beg for a light change to get across the street. They also force cyclists onto the sidewalk as the sensors never work. Let her know that lights should change for cyclists and pedestrians as a matter of course, and they, not car traffic, should be prioritized.

Write to our MPP Jessica Bell ( and let her know that it’s unacceptable that the province neither funds transit properly, nor do they toll roads into the city. Street parking for two hours should cost no less than a family of 4 taking transit two ways (about $28 for two hours). If it’s cheaper to drive, people will always choose that option.

Write to our Federal MP Chrystia Freeland ( and let her know that not only do you support a carbon tax, but it should get higher, faster. Let her know that you also want to see the federal government regulate the amount of toxic dust coming off car tires that ourchildren end up breathing.

Simply getting in touch with your representative is a gateway drug to other forms of environmental action. I wish us all success in making this community a safer, better place to live. 

Hopefully, we have not forgotten the horrendous wildfire smoke from last summer. Canada will face even more wildfires this year. The record-smashing heat is already in a vicious cycle. We no longer have time for political baby steps. Let’s make sure our politicians hear us.

Terri Chu is an engineer committed to practical environmentalism. This column is dedicated to helping the community reduce energy and distinguish environmental truths from myths.


Tags: Annex · Life · Opinion