The Evolution of Community Consultation in GTA Transit Planning
Between 1945 and 1970, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) experienced a vast expansion in transit infrastructure, including tens of kilometres of new subway lines and the introduction of commuter rail. This period, however, was characterized by a top-down approach to planning, with limited community consultation.
In a new paper for the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG), 2019-20 IMFG Post-Doctoral Fellow Nick Lombardo describes what has changed since the 1960s using case studies of the Bloor-Danforth Subway (1958–66), the Davenport Diamond Project (2015– ), and the Hurontario Light Rail Transit Project (2010– ).
Even as consultation has become increasingly incorporated into the transit planning process, the paper argues that community input still remains an afterthought, often coming only after key decisions about projects have been made.
The paper suggests that community consultation be integrated into the earliest stages of the planning process to ensure that such plans proceed into the expensive construction process with much broader support.