Steve Fleck’s letter in the Nov 10th Auroran tackles how Aurorans get around precisely pointing out how everyone, drives, everywhere for everything.Fleck’s observations are eerily similar to that of Johnny Sanphillippo whose video of Mississauga titled “Density without Urbanism” was posted to StrongTowns on November 10th.
Sanphillippo sums up the walkability of Mississauga like this:
“You have to drive everywhere all the time everywhere whether you want to or not. walking is not really a physical option. Things are physically too far apart from each other. Being a pedestrian in Mississauga is a real challenge. The place was built almost exclusively for cars. It’s not to say there aren’t sidewalks or bike paths or public buses or things that can’t get you around but the idea that you’re going to go from a subdivision across an 8-lane highway to a strip mall to do your shopping or go to the bank or the post office it really doesn’t work.”
As far as walkability goes Mississauga ranks very low on the scale and having lived in Aurora for over 10 years it is safe to say that you can substitute Aurora for Mississauga in that summary and everything rings true.
Earlier this month I wrote a post about how insulting it was for Mayor Dawe to make a case that “walking to school” in Aurora was somehow due to lethargy when the evidence staring everyone right in the face suggests it is a byproduct of urban planning
If we get back to Fleck’s letter I agree that the “Most Active community” claim is laughable.
If this group is going to measure a bunch of footsteps and claim responsibility for them adding up to the distance between Earth and Mars then they should also measure all the potential footsteps that were not taken during the same period by adding up the ever increasing vehicular mileage. I suspect that would easily add up to a trip to Pluto and back, putting some much-needed perspective on exactly how little effect “Activate Aurora” is having on an entire community.
Over on the StrongTowns website commentator John Hawkins drives home an important urban planning message:
“The way density helps is by putting people within walking distance of their most frequent destinations. If all you do is pack more people into a given space but don’t relocate the places they need to go to into that place as well, all you’re doing is increasing congestion and actually making the effective distance they have to travel greater.”
Year after year, decade after decade municipal politicians campaign, and are elected on platforms to revitalize the downtown core. Terms end and there is nothing of substance resulting from the numerous studies and planning policies.
For the love of god the latest one is even refers to an area of Yonge Street as the”promenade”. The derivation of “promenade” indicates a place specifically intended for walking. It is the one place in town you’re least likely to see anyone walking.
Now we have a mayor who believes that if you aggressively restrict and further condense the vehicle traffic all of a sudden people will jump out of their cars and onto the sidewalks.
For what? Unlike Newmarket’s River “Walk” Commons, the mix of services and stores along Aurora’s promenade are not frequent destinations.
Aurorans aren’t inactive, nor are they incapable of walking. It’s just that we don’t go out for Ministry mandated silly walks.