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Mississauga Life Early Spring 2015 : Page 19

Artist's impression: the Hurontario/Main LRT system. from federal, provincial and municipal/ regional governments. How did they justify this to their constituents? Over 10 years ago they saw the long-term benefits, which they summarized as follows: • Without an LRT, 500 kilometres of new roadways would be needed to accommodate growth at a cost of about $1.4 billion, all paid for by the municipal taxpayers with no contribution from the province or the feds; Without an LRT, more dependence will be placed on the road system, increasing the need for costly road expansions, maintenance and improvements; Without an LRT, a significant amount of land will be required by Waterloo Region to accommodate expansion and growth, including new roads or road widenings through established neighbourhoods; The rise in population would lead to unmanageable gridlock across the community; • Road improvements and expansions do not offer the same level of development opportunities as an LRT. • • • Development opportunities ? This is a key concept and potential benefit in any rapid-transit scenario. In Mississauga, we are at a point where new development will have to occur within existing contexts as there are no more open greenfields. Infill development will be useful in meeting our obligations to create more employment opportunities locally, increase the range and type of housing within a community, and provide the attendant amenities, services and facilities to support such growth. The Hurontario corridor seeks these same outcomes: the connection of north/ south movement to east/west movement, the concentration of density to support use and sustainability in nodes and corridors, and the connection of employment and other community service uses to residents, providing an alternative to car ownership. Waterloo Region is doing it. Edmonton is doing it. Calgary is building it. The greatest stumbling block to funding is risk. What is it and who takes it? Large sums of capital are being requested based on projections that call for an urban, more intense type of development, located in compact geographical nodes and corridors. What if this new urban form does not happen? What do we do in a recession? How do politics at three levels of government work together? What if the locals don’t want to lose their cherished left-turn lanes? Heads may roll! Transit makes the decision-makers very nervous. There is a great temptation to just leave this wonderful city alone. We are happy. We love our cars. Don’t mess with paradise. But without intensification, how will we be able to move through it? How can we afford not to grow? Michael Spaziani operates MSAi, a Mississauga-based commercial architecture and urban design consulting company. He also serves as an expert witness at the OMB. Visit us at www.mississauga life .ca

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