York Urbanist


October 17th, 2011

Where? Highway 7 and Leslie Street intersection shared by Richmond Hill and Thornhill, Markham

What? A melee of traffic whose design parameters can only be described as ‘unexpected’

Why? The development of Markham’s Commerce Valley Business Park added significant traffic volumes to the already busy Beaver Creek Industrial development in Richmond Hill.  And Commerce Valley is only half built to date!  The response recently was to increase lanes of traffic by another two on Highway 7.
The chaos created by road construction will wilt in comparison to what future traffic demands will cause.  Add to this the high density residential development of Leitchcroft (which on its own works well).  Despite the proximity of residence to place of work, the residents still jump in the car for their daily commute!

How is this an Urban Place to Detest? It is very difficult to take a good picture of the district.  Certainly any taken with a pedestrian will be unique.  The ped is likely to be obscured by construction equipment or vehicles.  Running shoes are recommended for crossings.  The left turn lights, anxious drivers, service vehicles and plethora of signage make this a confusing, if vibrant, intersection. This remains the penultimate suburbia.

The Alternative?
Rethink the direction of development planning.  The established rules of lots, sideyards and building heights should be abandoned. Thecities/towns need now to integrate building to building guidelines to make this a complex of business, each entity integrated with another.  A residential component would be appropriate in the coming age of $2 a litre gas. Transit requires an overhaul. If this is one of York’s downtowns, then a vision would include dedicated transit connecting other downtowns of York Region.



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