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MOVEEvergreen Brick Worksto host seminal exhibiton transportation50

There is a crisis brewing, and not just in Toronto. With more thanhalf of the world's population now living in cities, there is an urgentneed for clean, efficient and innovative solutions to keep urbancentres moving. Effective transportation is an integral factor in creating livablecommunities, and in ensuring stronger ties between clean, healthyneighbourhoods. By contrast, poor transportation infrastructureresults in billions of dollars wasted in time lost as goods and peopleare stuck on the roads, as well as the associated health-care costs.So how did we get here? Although post-war suburban sprawl forever changed the way welive in the GTA and throughout Southern Ontario, concerns aboutmobility and transportation have been on the radar for more thanone hundred years. It's worth remembering that the first proposalsfor subway lines in Toronto were considered as far back as 1910.Much like today, many of these early proposals were ultimatelyrejected due to cost and uncertainty about demand. Morerecently, in the 1960s and 1970s, world-famous urbanist JaneJacobs led the campaign that ultimately cancelled plans to buildthe "Spadina Expressway" through the heart of Toronto. Heropposition to the project, based on citizen's concerns for theproposed freeway's effect on the area's vibrant neighborhoods,was a harbinger of a new-found appreciation for urban health andlivability, and ultimately, for creating a sustainable transportationsystem that would make these types of communities possible. "Transportation infrastructure can make or break communities andregions," says Susan Zielinski, the managing director of SMART,aBy Matthew ChurchMichigan-based research organization that focuses on sustainabletransportation. "Intentionally or not, it can revitalize or it candisrupt and segregate. It comes down to what we think of asinfrastructure and what goals we have in mind when we provideand repair it." A city is more than just a collection of buildings connected bycommon infrastructure. Cities are places where people live, work,go to school and spend much of their leisure time. So thechallenges of transportation and mobility need to be compatiblewith how we live in our communities. Throughout the GTA today,we can see how our communities have been structured around thepersonal automobile - from the wide, expansive roads thatdiscourage walking or biking, to the big-box stores that can onlybe accessed by car. These development and urban planningchoices affect our mobility and the way we interact with otherneighbourhoods and communities. Before automobile ownershipsurged in the 1950s, urban growth took place along major roadcorridors, leaving plots of farmland intact between residential andcommercial developments. As personal car use soared,automobile-centred transportation networks became the norm,with highways and ring roads extending far out from city centres.As populations continued to grow, so did the need for bigger andmore roads - a cycle that continues to this day. "Urban sprawl is not a sustainable pattern of land use," says EricMiller, director of the Cities Centre, an urban planning researchinstitute at the University of Toronto. "It consumes too much land,requires excessive investment in infrastructure of all kinds, andmakes sustainable transportation impossible to provide." And asWe've all been there. Stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic or huddled in a shelter waitingfor a bus that never comes. Transportation is anissue that touches all of us - whether we're latefor work, or genuinely concerned about theimpact of pollution or rising greenhouse gasemissions. Although Torontonians are hearing alot about transit these days, there remains muchconfusion about the city's plan to improve itstransportation systems. And set against abackdrop of worsening congestion, rising costs,and aging infrastructure, the city's populationcontinues to grow rapidly. 51