SETAC – South Etobicoke Transit Action Committee

Planning failure & resulting transit/traffic mess at Humber Bay Shores (The Star)

How rampant development and poor planning left residents of this Etobicoke neighbourhood stuck in traffic.

The Etobicoke neighbourhood of Humber Bay Shores has undergone rapid development in the past two decades, but transit infrastructure hasn’t come with it. The problem only stands to get worse.

It’s easy to see why people are flocking to live in Humber Bay Shores. At most times the highrise neighbourhood in south Etobicoke appears an idyllic community. Glistening modern towers stand near a waterfront park, offering scenic views of downtown and ample opportunity to walk, bike or sail along Lake Ontario.

But the tranquil scene is shattered every weekday morning when thousands of residents clog the community’s meagre transportation network as they struggle to make their way to work.
Local residents say the roughly 10-kilometre commute downtown can take 40 minutes by car on a bad day, particularly if an accident on the nearby Gardiner Expressway causes drivers to spill off the highway in search of an alternative route. And with new condo towers already under construction, locals predict the gridlock will only get worse.

“Right now it’s pretty bad,” said Randy Barba, a photographer and chair of the Humber Bay Shores Ratepayers and Residents Association.

When the new development comes in, “it’s going to be horrific,” Barba said. “I don’t understand how it’s going to be managed.”

Once known for its notorious strip of seedy motels, Humber Bay Shores has undergone rapid development in the past two decades, and the influx of thousands of new residents has been almost completely unaccompanied by the provision of new transit.

It’s a problem that is being repeated in different ways in different neighbourhoods throughout the Greater Toronto Area, caused in part by the region’s success. As more and more people choose to live in the GTA’s urban communities, local authorities are struggling to provide the infrastructure necessary to sustain the quality of life that attracted them in the first place, be it in the form of schools, parks or public transportation.

Even for a city in the grip of a development boom, the growth rate in Humber Bay Shores has been astonishing. The population of a single census tract in the area more than doubled in just five years, jumping to 11,390 in 2016, from 5,236 in 2011.

There are currently six developments either under construction or approved in the Park Lawn and Mimico districts, representing more than 4,400 new residential units.

According to the city, the population of the area bounded by Royal York Rd., the Gardiner and the Humber River is roughly 26,800, and it could grow by another 10,000 residents when all the expected development is complete.

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