Comment 2020

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 11, 2006 at 09:30:44

Dear Citizen,

In fact, expressways are necessarily pro-sprawl and pro-pollution. In transportation, supply creates its own demand, so an expressway like Red Hill, which runs from the QEW into an undeveloped area of the city, is 1) opening that area up to new development (like Summit Park) and 2) making it easier for people to drive and hence encouraging more people to do so.

In fact, the family that owns the Summit Park subdivision (DeSantis) were major donors to the 2003 election campaigns of expressway supporters, including Larry Di Ianni, because, as Aldo DeSantis explained, Red Hill was "the lynchpin" that would make Summit Park viable. The following CATCH article from 2004 provides some eye-popping details:

The second part reflects the fact that people will choose the transportation mode that is the best combination of convenient and affordable. If driving is the most convenient, then people will drive. If transit is the most convenient (as it is in, say Manhattan, where 70% of residents don't own a car), then people will take transit.

Every time we build a new expressway, we make it more convenient to drive and less convenient to take transit, due to the opportunity cost of spending public money on the highway instead of transit. The city sprawls further, density goes down, and all those car-owning people now put additional pressure on the city to make the rest of it as car-friendly as the expressways and their wide-laned adjacent suburbs.

A direct result is the ongoing pressure to keep Main and King as one-way urban expressways, since people who have already invested huge sums in a car want to leverage it as extensively as possible. The fixed costs of owning a car (lease/financing, insurance, regular maintenance) are higher than the variable costs of operating it, so the total per-kilometre cost of driving actually goes down the more you drive.

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