Where I Stand
Concerns Regarding Areas Dealt by Municipal Government
Markham is a growing city with plans for the future. But there are some concerns I have towards their development. These issues can have major affects on the quality of life of the people and the future.
There are a lot of new construction projects taking place in Markham recently. While it's nice to see the city grow, I feel there is a bit too much. Particularly, the construction of bus lanes on major roads. The construction and closures cause a lot of extra traffic. I think there should also be less development of detached homes, and instead more higher density communities. Communities being developed like Downtown Markham are what needs to be built. With Markham's growing population, developing low density areas only results in more pollution and more resources used as supposed to if they were in high density areas, which use resources more efficiently. More urban sprawl also causes home owners to drive farther to work, causing pollution.
How to Build a Better City
An issue that affects everyone in Markham is transit. There's plenty of traffic and congestion at times, and there needs to be more options. The bus lanes, being called the "Rapidway," should make them faster, but most people still use personal vehicles. This is in part because bus routes don't cover enough roads and because of few buses. Even on the Rapidway, buses will only come every 16 minutes for off peak hours, and 8 minutes for peak hours. Very few people take public transit to work, at only 16% as compared to Toronto's 37%. By car to go to work, 74% for Markham, but only 48% for Toronto. The cost of bus fare is also an important issue. YRT fares are the highest in the GTA, at $4 for cash fare, while the TTC charges $3 for cash fare. Improving the use of bus transportation is important, but more roads to ease congestion of major roads like Highway 7 are needed.
While Markham builds as a community with new communities and higher density areas, there is still the Rouge River, an ecosystem that needs to remain protected. The wildlife that lives in the Rouge River area needs to be protected. Development of new communities should be diverted away from Rouge River streams. Roads and highways should also be elevated on bridges so they don't interfere with the wildlife below them. For example, Highway 407. Only a few bridges are used to cross streams and trails. The rest use cost cutting pipes to allow water flow. However, this method restricts movement for wildlife and pedestrians. The use of bridges help to prevent accidents between motor vehicles with pedestrians and wildlife, like deer. The construction of highways extending farther out from Markham also encourages urban sprawl, disrupting even more wildlife and their habitat. Much of the land of the Rouge watershed in Markham is owned by the government, which gives them the power to protect, or destroy it.