We all know that York Region is growing. In some parts of the Region, this growth is happening so quickly that some people might worry their neighbourhoods could change in ways they won’t like. Truth is, growth throughout the Greater Toronto Area is going to continue and bring about change – it’s inevitable.
That’s why York Region has been so enthusiastic about bringing the vivaNext rapid transit expansion. But what does rapid transit have to do with managing growth, and why should you care? Let’s talk about this.
With growth, many more people will come to York Region, all wanting homes, jobs, and pleasant places to shop and relax. That means more new business and residential development, and more people needing to move around. Saying no to growth isn’t an option, but there are choices in what new development gets built, and where it happens. This is where growth can be good – or result in change that isn’t so good.
In the past, there was lots of room for new development, and it could spread out. Because it was spread out, people often drove everywhere – to go shopping, to get to work, to do the things that mattered. That was fine when our roads weren’t so crowded, and you could get around easily.
Over the years, two things have happened that changed the way we plan for new developments. One thing is an understanding that available land is limited. Limits have been placed on developments in the fragile greenbelt around the GTA that also surrounds York Region, protecting those lands for future generations. The second thing is that getting around the spread-out developments of the past is taking much longer, now that there are so many more cars on the road.
Part of the answer lies in careful planning for new growth. York Region’s Official Plan sets out clear rules for where new growth will go, and what will be allowed. Our existing neighbourhoods will stay much the way they are, but new developments will be more compact and pedestrian-friendly – especially along the main corridors. The other part of the answer lies in making sure that all new development can be easily reached by rapid transit, so people won’t need to rely on cars to get where they want to go.
With this plan, you’ll get to enjoy all the things you love about living here, plus you’ll have even more places to go and things to do…all connected by a leading-edge rapid transit system that will make getting around easier than ever before.
That’s the plan, and vivaNext is a key part of it. So – tell us – what are the things YOU want to keep the same – and what new things do you wish were here?