Apr 202017

Central Park

With a major public meeting about the City of London’s plan to build a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system slated for Wednesday May 3 at Budweiser Gardens, now would be a good time to reflect upon the city’s larger urban plan and vision for the future.

The political push for this unnecessary and unpopular project is itself a symptom of a greater problem, one common to municipalities everywhere.

Freedom Party’s Ted Harlson, an active participant against a similar proposal in Brampton, has offered hope for those opposed to the London proposal; he says you CAN beat city hall:

“A prolonged and growing revolt climaxed with a municipal meeting of council and citizens. This was proof that the proposal was failing. The rail initiative was rightfully voted down. Citizens for a Better Brampton with freedom of information requests continuously questioned the lack of preparation regarding the subway plans.

“Brampton citizens won, shooting down their massive $1.6 billion white elephant. But this was not the end. After the costly subway push had failed, Brampton citizens voted out most of the former council members and the mayor. With organization, your city can do the same.”

Sounds promising. But even optimistically assuming that London’s BRT proposal is defeated, what then? Why there is a municipal transit problem in the first place? How will the city deal with public transit and traffic issues, from parking to traffic flow? How large should the city grow? Should it just be permitted to limitlessly sprawl on the basis of demographic population trends and demands?

Universal to cities everywhere, anyone interested in discovering a solution to these questions should make themselves aware of the ideas of Andrés Duany, American architect, urban planner, and founder of the Congress for the New Urbanism.

His many presentations to municipal planners and the public on how cities should grow – naturally – are both entertaining and inspiring. Duany demonstrates how urban environments, like natural environments, should together be able to grow and mature in harmony – all without declaring a war on the car.

Using the principles of the “Transect” as his guide, Duany presents an inspiring and practical way to think about urban planning that could be Just Right.

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