Bus busting in Ontario’s London

December 12, 2012

Have you noticed the bus route number in the picture: it is a subliminal message from Brent Toderian

Trying to follow their European counterparts, many cities around the US, including Los Angeles, now commit tremendous amount of money on down-town Transit initiatives, seen as key toward their urban renaissance. Former Vancouver Chief Planner, Brent Toderian, thinks differently: We should get rid of the transit to install patios! Huh: What about the cars?

To be sure, it seems to be the talk of the day in London Ontario, for its main downtown street, Dundas street. London could have its own reason but that is odd:

  • It doesn’t have the excuse to be in 1970, not even the one of a pedestrian Mall project (like the 1970’s Wellington Golden Mile)
  • It is both more capital and operating intensive [1][2]

In brief, when cities around the world invest toward more attractive Downtown transit, London Ontario seems willing to invest toward the opposite goal?

Could we see here at play a very concerning Canadian attitude, toward surface Transit?

In Rouen, France, the removal of cars, not buses, has been chosen, to improve the streetscape, mainly by widening the sidewalk

[1] $1.8M for bus-free Dundas, London Community News, June, 06, 2012

[2] Ironically, the very same reason why Wellington has reintroduce Transit on its Golden Mile

6 Responses to “Bus busting in Ontario’s London”

  1. Rico Says:

    I am not familiar enough with the London area to really comment, but it seems the obvious choice looking at the picture is to remove the on street parking (assuming enough alternatives exist) but it could be the bus lane is unidirectional in rush hour (ie parking against the flow, bus lane with the rush hour flow) in which case finding the space could be tougher. I do not know if that street would have the density of destinations to support a transit/pedestrian only street. Could be they have the right set up now.

    • Voony Says:

      Yes, removing on street parking seems the obvious option (The bus bays could go too-meaning the bus stay on the street at stop). Plant some trees (in SW Ontario, Summers are hot and humid, so shade is something looked after), throw a bike lane, and suddenly the street is more inviting.

      The point of this post, is that here a Planning consultant comes, and see the bus only as a problem – at least that is the thrust of his tweet.

  2. Roger Kemble Says:

    Voony, I wish to express my displeasure with the way Gordon Price conducts his blog, Price Tags. Price and his cohort seem to be congenitally incapable of espousing well-tested alternatives.

    I am posting here in the expectation Price lacks the magnanimity to accept criticism.

    The choir chants and woe betide anyone who attempts to introduce alternatives.

    There is more to distributing the amenities of this city than crowding everyone into under ground, expensive shiny trinkets we cannot afford.

    There are alternatives: indeed, probably more than my limited capacity describes. Affordable technology is readily available.

    Most of us are well versed in techno communication able to free us from ranging the city hour on end from one mindless destination to another: education is now available online, shopping online, medical advice on line, entertainment on line, need I go on.

    Established academic institutions, among others should be direcxted to decentralize and commence arranging course on line.

    I will not be logging on to Price Tags again. I am, to say the least, disgusted with gang of on line limited intellects with delusions ridiculing alternative voices: its proprietor’s Gauleiter-like entrenched response to anything other than the party line.

    Indeed a cohort, of limited, aggressive, humourless, opinionated, minds-so-far-in-the-past troglodytes are no longer worth following.

    Awareness of the moribund state of civic and provincial finances should alert us to current chisme and inutile bavardage!

    Pie-in-the-sky billion dollar boondoggles should be denied immediately in favour of readily available, inexpensive, contemporary communication and decentralization technology of which we are all familiar.

    Submitted: Roger Kemble MA (Brit. Col ’87: urban planning) RCA MAIBC.

  3. Brent Toderian Says:

    For the record, this short tweet summarized lengthy consideration and discussions with Londoners – my recommendation was, and still is, to move the busses one block off Dundas, where they would operate just as well (better, perhaps), and their riders can enliven those streets that need it… and the Dundas Street bus bays (that take up huge space on a tight street, not on-street parking) can be transformed to permanent or at least 3 season identity-creating patios for place-making. Its hardly busses vs place-making… its design that makes 1+1=3.

    I’d have been glad to explain this, if you’d have cared to ask via twitter or elsewhere.


    • Voony Says:


      Thanks for the clarification. I just took the tweet for what it reads, and I don’t deny that it could be some good reasons to remove busses from Dundas.
      In term of Transit operation, according to ref [1], the suggested rerouting could require 3 more buses ($1.4M capital cost) and $276,000 more in annual operating cost: That could buy a new bus route instead of patios. May be a better transit solution (with a more holistic network review) can be found, but in the meantime, it sounds a bit as busses vs place-making.

      PS: I haven’t a twitter account

  4. First off I would like to say awesome blog!

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    I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts before writing.
    I’ve had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out there. I truly do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints? Kudos!

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