Toronto Day 3 – NACTO

Published by mikesewell on

The day opened with a plenary of local council members explaining the challenges of accommodating all users in a rapidly evolving city.

CW Wong-Tam underscored that no one should mistake that cars are responsible for congestion and cars alone. Allocation of space to other modes can only lead to alleviation of congestion.

After that the walking tours began. I started one with a tour of facilities around city hall.

Despite what I believe are pretty u friendly or uncomfortable settings for people on bikes, there are still a large number of bikes.

Our group used the trans some and with them having to share space, they typically get hung up behind cars. Making preemption nearly impossible.

There are still some remnant tactical urbanism installations from TIFF along this busy street:

From here, we went down near the old city center at CA Tower.

The CA Tower and adjacent RE-use site at the Rail Museum were great.

After this it was time for the lunch plenary where we talked equity in our transportation networks.

It was really interesting to dig into the systemic issues that have made it tough to break out of the status quoted to make sure that everyone can interface on our systems with dignity and have access to opportunities.

Our speaker proposed a new system for us to use as planners and engineers our our transportation networks.

The chocolate dessert did not stand a chance…

After lunch, I picked the tactical urbanism session where we learned about low cost, high impact quality of life improvements in Denver, Memphis and Boston.

Rolf Eisinger, Denver’s Vision Zero coordinator did a bang up job of lining out processes and lessons learned that have allowed for flexibility in design on these approaches.

Several of these projects have yielded a decrease in operating speeds from nearly 60% of drivers exceeding the speed limit to almost 10% post installation. That is huge!

The Edge District in Memphis really stood out for a tiered approach to fixing issues inexpensively first, then coming back will full treatments + innovative intersection cover overhead to drive down operating speeds and save lives.

After a long day of sessions we invited to a tour of ABC’s (of Google) Sidewalk Labs, which has been touting some major advancement on the use of tech focused on smart and safe movement of people.

I was disappointed because they had done a fantastic job of what appeared to be documenting a process and documenting the public engagement, but no real tangible outcomes.

One extremely neat example of showing the trade offs was this interactive piece:

And there was this outdoor installation showing fiber lit textures, but there was no interactivity or detection along the lines of what has been showcased.

A group of attendees hit the road to check out a newly renovated district close by.

Toronto has some really amazing public art installations which helped to transform dim streets into anchors and places.

Some great old friends and new friends hung out to discuss everything we encountered. Over a late night beer.

We then met up with the entire NACTO crew at Kensington Market.

And that is all for Toronto! It was a great experience and we learned a lot about how innovation and tech is helping to reshape our public right-of-way!

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