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Old January 4th, 2007, 05:07 AM   #1
Ashok
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London Developments

Please continue the "LONDON: Proposals & Construction" in this thread.

Reference to old thread: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=248416

The last thing said on the previous thread is as follows:

Quote:
Originally Posted by will.exe View Post
I saw a show on discovery about that.
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Old January 4th, 2007, 07:58 AM   #2
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First to reply in new thread... it's bad that this is the most memorable thing I've done all day, isn't it?

I might as well post something interesting, then.

Personally, I am thinking of leaving London when my school term comes to a close in April. I have always prided myself on being a true London supporter, and I will always remain that way. However, the lure of the Toronto-area job market is very appealing. I figure I'm young, just starting my career, and is there a better time to live in Toronto then when you are mid-20's, relatively debt-free, and an avid Blue Jays fan? I think not!

This move would not be permanent, as both my fiance and I wish to return to London to own our dream house one day. 2 years, 5 years, maybe 10 years we will be gone... well, MIGHT be gone. If I can find a decent job in London, then I'll stay. But that is a big IF.

This got me thinking: What really IS there in London to make someone stay? I'm educated, I'm driven, and I'm ready to enter the workforce... but where in this town can I get a head start on my career?
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Old January 4th, 2007, 12:56 PM   #3
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Dang, new thread

Anyways, I share the same thought as you. I have always liked Toronto, in one fashion or another. London is great and all, but I have been thinking what it would be like to career in Toronto for a while, maybe even longer than that. I think all things considered I will most likely stay in London, but if something starts to bug me enough, Toronto here I come.

LdnPlanr, what exactly is your career that you are trying to get off the ground if you don't mind me asking?

I'm in school for child care, along the lines of high needs, C.A.S., youth detention, ect.
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Old January 4th, 2007, 05:48 PM   #4
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London is not a city people come to just because they want to (not like Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston, Owen Sound, or other more "cultural" cities). The main reason people come here is because of jobs, mostly in manufacturing or at UWO. And the people who stay are generally the well established wealthy families who have been here for generations. Me, I'm going into urban studies at Western and I don't plan on staying in London when I start my career, I'll go to Vancouver or Toronto or Montreal, maybe even Europe since I have citizenship in the Netherlands. What LdnPlnr says is true, there isn't much reason for a young, well educated person to stay in - let alone come to - London. Shame really.
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Old January 5th, 2007, 04:17 AM   #5
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LTC pitches big overhaul

Thu, January 4, 2007

The $105-million proposal contains measures to make public transit preferable to cars.

By JOE BELANGER, FREE PRESS CITY HALL REPORTER




Dedicated bus lanes, special traffic signals planned.
In the biggest overhaul in its 130-year history, London Transit wants to spend $105 million over the next nine years to whisk passengers across the city faster.

The key goal is to avoid future gridlock by getting more drivers to leave their cars at home and take the bus.

"We're not asking everybody to get out of their car, but change can occur," said Larry Ducharme, LTC's general manager. "It's not pie in the sky. It's doable with proven technology and service designs. Can we influence change? Yes. If the price is effective and we match the price with quality service, we'll influence change."

The plan includes:

- A new transit system design based on key nodes -- shopping areas, major schools and businesses -- and major road corridors.


- $68 million spent on 102 replacement buses and 32 additional buses to expand service.

- Implementation of bus rapid transit, or BRT, with pickups on some routes every five minutes during rush hour, depending on demand.

- BRT routes fed by buses providing basic service in neighbourhoods surrounding shopping, business and school nodes.

- The introduction of "transit priority measures" -- some already underway -- for the BRT corridors, including dedicated bus lanes, special traffic signals giving buses a jump at key intersections and a computerized traffic signal system that gives buses priority to stay on schedule.

- Dedicated bus lanes expected on only the four corridors with the highest demand, including Richmond Street, Oxford Street East and all or part of Western, Wharncliffe and Wonderland roads.

- New bus designs and shelter facilities along BRT corridors to add comfort and make boarding easier and faster.

- A $16.5-million satellite bus facility to ease congestion at the Highbury Avenue headquarters.

"We should have started on this yesterday, but we can't, so we have to start today," said former city controller Russ Monteith, chairperson of the London Transit Commission.

Monteith said London can't wait for gridlock once there's another 100,000 people.

"Eventually, we'll get to the point where we have to do it anyway, but it will cost us more money. So the earlier we start planning the system the cheaper it will be and the better it will be."

The long-term strategy goes to the commission for approval this month.

The plan then heads to city council where it's expected a transit working group will develop a final plan with public participation.

"This may not be the final plan, but you've got to start somewhere and the sooner the better," Monteith said.

If approved, bus riders could see some changes by early next year, including the BRT.

If the strategy works, city buses would be carrying 54 per cent more passengers, or about 28 million riders a year (from the current 19 million), by 2024.

In other words, 10 per cent of all travel during London's rush hours would be by bus -- a major goal of the city's transportation master plan.

Aside from capital costs, LTC staff estimate the added annual operating costs will total about $19 million by 2024.

LTC's proposed 2007 operating budget is about $49 million with taxpayers contributing $18.3 million and the rest coming from fares and provincial subsidies.

"No matter what we do, it's going to cost lots of money because we're either going to have more people taking the bus or we're going to have to build wider roads to accommodate all the cars that will be out there," said Monteith.

Another benefit of the move is environmental with fewer cars and less air pollution.

For the plan to work, Ducharme said, the LTC needs to be involved in the city's land-use planning with policies encouraging and supporting transit included in the official plan, which is now under review.

The plan also calls for a comprehensive parking strategy that reduces the number of parking lots downtown, drives up the price and makes bus travel more financially attractive to motorists.

Ducharme said he'd like to see BRT operating on a few routes next year.

"This isn't something we can introduce in 2024," Ducharme said. "We need to introduce it this year and next or we aren't going to get where we want to be by 2024."

---

BASIC SERVICE:

Will still be provided to communities surrounding key nodes such as malls, schools and major business areas at 30-minute intervals, the same as now.

SECONDARY SERVICE:

(Oxford Street West, Fanshawe Park Road West) Provides 15-minute service during rush hour, 30-minute service at other times. Transit priority measures would include traffic signal priority for buses behind schedule and a special traffic signal at some locations so buses get through busy intersections before other traffic. It includes passenger amenities such as better shelters and larger buses.

PRIMARY SERVICE:

(Dundas Street, Wellington Road) Buses at 10 minute intervals during rush hour with one traffic lane dedicated to buses and high occupancy vehicles. Other transit priority measures could include traffic signal priority for buses and a special traffic signal so buses get through busy intersections before other traffic. It includes enhanced passenger amenities such as better shelters and larger buses.

BRT SERVICE:

(Richmond Street, Oxford Street East, Western Road and parts of Wonderland and Wharncliffe Roads) Bus service at five-minute intervals during rush hour, reduced to 15 minutes in off hours. Traffic signal priority for buses behind schedule and a dedicated buses-only lane.
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Old January 5th, 2007, 04:19 AM   #6
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BTW Thanks for the new Thread Ashok
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Old January 5th, 2007, 04:29 AM   #7
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I PMed him a couple days ago because he's the only Canadian section mod I see around on a regular basis. Kudos Ashok!
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Old January 5th, 2007, 08:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K85 View Post
LdnPlanr, what exactly is your career that you are trying to get off the ground if you don't mind me asking?

I am just finishing up the Urban Planning program at Fanshawe College. I'd love to stay and help this city grow (which is most often the response I get from people around London who ask what I'm in school for... that's rather telling, isn't it?) but I don't think I can find a job here without 'knowing' someone on the inside of a company. I have a few 'ins' here in town, but nothing as promising as I have in the Toronto-area. I know several engineers, planners, and former-planners. Bodes well for a job search, let me tell you.

Oh, and while I have you attention, this LTC 'bus-only' lanes thing is completely non-realistic. Tell me, please, humour me, where the hell on Oxford St. E. between Richmond and Fanshawe College are you going to put a seperate, bus only lane...? Unbelieveable day-dreaming.
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Old January 6th, 2007, 02:07 AM   #9
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Now that we're talking about careers, I went to Fanshawe College myself and took the computer programmer course and graduated. But never really found a job until last year in July in Stratford and was laid off in September, it's hard to find something in such a small area like where I am. But, personally, I might try to find something in the Kitchener/Waterloo area, after all, there's lot of opportunity over there right now in the computer field. But I guess if necessary, I can take another course, if necessary, and farther my education.

As for that bus-only plan, good luck on Oxford Street, that street is jam packed each and every day. And some areas won't be able to be widened, unless maybe they add just one more middle lane or something. Same goes for other areas of the city.

I mainly come to London now for concerts and Knights games and stuff like that.
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Old January 6th, 2007, 05:20 AM   #10
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Major LTC plan backed

Fri, January 5, 2007

Former city councillor Sandy Levin suggests council "go big'' on the system or "go home.'' Reaction

By IAN GILLESPIE, FREE PRESS CITY HALL REPORTER




A former city councillor said it's time for London to "go big or go home" when it comes to public transit.

Sandy Levin, who also served on the London Transit Commission, was among observers who yesterday lauded a proposed $105-million, nine-year overhaul of the city's bus system.

While not everyone interviewed yesterday embraced the LTC's plan for a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, several agreed it's a good start to a debate.

"If city council doesn't accept this plan, it's not accepting a big-city transit system that's important for a creative city that is environmentally responsible," Levin said.

"The alternative is the status quo and that just means our public transit system gets worse and the traffic congestion gets worse."


The BRT system would move passengers faster across the city along major routes, using policies and technology to give buses priority on the roads and at intersections.

The aim is to entice more drivers to keep their cars at home, easing air pollution and traffic congestion and saving the city tax dollars on road widenings.

Most observers agreed the transit plan has to be debated in the context of the city's overall transportation management plan, which includes all forms of transportation and parking.

"I think it's generally a good plan and there's no doubt we need to invest more in our buses," said Gerry Macartney, general manager of the London Chamber of Commerce.

"I think the big stumbling block will be whether we can afford it or, maybe, whether we can afford not to."

If approved and the system works, the LTC says buses would be carrying 54-per-cent more passengers, or about 28 million riders a year (up from 19 million), by 2024.

In other words, 10 per cent of all travel during rush hour would be by bus -- a major goal of the city's transportation master plan.

The LTC is expected to approve the plan this month before it's sent to city council and a new transit working group in February.

For the plan to work, the LTC says it needs to be involved in the city's land-use planning.

The plan also calls for a comprehensive parking strategy that reduces the number of parking lots downtown, drives up rates and makes bus travel more financially attractive to motorists -- a suggestion Deputy Mayor Tom Gosnell says he's not convinced will work.

Gosnell, the city's budget chief, wants to spend millions of tax dollars on downtown parking garages to draw more offices to the core.

"By and large, I've always wanted significant emphasis put on mass transit and I think this report is a terrific starting point," Gosnell said.

"But you can't solve all the problems downtown with just transit. If it was that simple, it would have been solved by now. It's all about balance."

But will council -- hampered by a heavy debt load and high tax hikes in recent years -- buy into spending $49 million (its share of the $105-million capital cost) and an estimated $19 million in operating costs by 2024?

"I don't know," said Coun. Harold Usher, chairperson of council's environment and transportation committee and the LTC's vice-chairperson.

"So far, I find council one-track-minded and look at these kinds of issues in isolation. We can't look at transit alone and we can't look at parking alone."

---

REACTION

"London Transit needs to be seen as an attractive, viable and timely alternative to cars and this plan puts us in the right direction. . . . It's important to have a system that doesn't just reach people who need to use the bus but reaches those who will also use it as an alternative." -- Stephen Turner, chairperson of the city's transportation advisory committee

"I think it's pie in the sky, a classic case of putting the cart before the horse. We're suffering from terrible traffic congestion, a very poor road system as it is now and a major portion of this plan is to dedicate our major arterial roads to bus lanes. The result (of higher parking rates) would be that people simply would not go downtown. The underlying thing we have to keep in mind is the fact people are not going to leave their cars." -- Coun. Paul Van Meerbergen, who instead favours better roads and lower taxes

"If we don't get more people using the buses, we're not going to be that special, viable, creative city. One of the things we need to achieve that is a good, viable transit system that gets them where they want to go and back home, efficiently and at a reasonable cost, safely." -- Coun. Harold Usher, vice-chairperson of London Transit Commission and chairperson of council's environment and transportation committee

"If you do the math, you reduce the money the city would spend building or widening roads and invest in transit instead. Financially you're going to be ahead in the end." -- Sandy Levin, former city councillor and member of London Transit Commission

"Whether this is a plan that is going to change people's views about their cars and buses, I don't know. But we need this kind of dialogue if we're going to be one of the leading municipalities in Canada." -- Gerry Macartney, general manager, London Chamber of Commerce
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Old January 6th, 2007, 05:19 PM   #11
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Core gets boutique hotel

Link
Sat, January 6, 2007
Construction on the high-end Metro Hotel is set to start next month, for an August opening.
By JOHN MINER, FREE PRESS REPORTER


Downtown London's first boutique hotel -- common in big cities, rare in smaller ones --may be around the corner.

Construction of the Metro Hotel is to start next month, with the upscale lodging place expected to open by August, the owner said yesterday.

"We are going to make it very classy," said Al Velji. "Everything will be on the high-end level."

While some boutique hotels go to extremes, with a different theme for every room, Velji said he plans subtle differences at the Metro Hotel.

"It will create contemporary urban chic, a contemporary look inside the room with a Zen atmosphere," he said.

Velji's company, the Metro Group of Hotels, has bought the four-storey former Geilen Design building on Dundas Street, which backs onto the Covent Garden Market, for the project.

When finished, the converted building will include 20 regular rooms and two extra-large suites.

The emphasis will be on service.

There will be round-the-clock concierges, 24-hour room service, valets and porters.

There will also be a full-service spa, said Velji.

"The size of the property can't be too big so that you can give personalized service," he said.

The total cost of the project hasn't been finalized, he said.

With its location near the John Labatt Centre and neighbouring law offices, Velji expects the hotel will serve young professionals, performers, regional managers, sales representatives, business executives and lawyers.

Velji said his family has been in the hotel business for 17 years and has operations in Milton and London.
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Old January 7th, 2007, 07:59 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will.exe View Post
London is not a city people come to just because they want to (not like Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston, Owen Sound, or other more "cultural" cities). The main reason people come here is because of jobs, mostly in manufacturing or at UWO. And the people who stay are generally the well established wealthy families who have been here for generations. Me, I'm going into urban studies at Western and I don't plan on staying in London when I start my career, I'll go to Vancouver or Toronto or Montreal, maybe even Europe since I have citizenship in the Netherlands. What LdnPlnr says is true, there isn't much reason for a young, well educated person to stay in - let alone come to - London. Shame really.
London not a city to come to except a job???..............maybe you should expand your knowledge of the city.
Why would people come to London? Well, lets see. London is a beautiful city with striking inner city homes and neighbourhoods. Its clean, green, and has a great park system. The crime rate is low, the social services are very good and so, of course, are the medical facilities. It has a huge and prestigeous university and one of the largest colleges in Ontario.
It is a white collar city with no great industrial base. It has great shopping and Richmond is in a league of its own when comes to restaurants.
Its downtown rejuvenation has been great and getting better all the time.
Its convientent to almost everything whether it be Pt.Stanley, Grand Bend, Stratford, Toronto etc.....
It gets a lot of concerts whether they be rock'n'roll or symphony. It has a decent little music scene.
The economy is strong and diversified so you don't get these unwelcome boom and busts. The population is growing faster now than at any time in the last 20 years.
It is home to some truly beautiful architectural gems all sourronded by welcoming and pleasant tree-lined streets. Thames River and the parks around it are very tranquile.
London is an oasis in a sea of ugly and bleak cities that plague much of Ontario.
Ontario has some lovely cities and London is right up there with the best of them and has a reputation as being such.
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Old January 7th, 2007, 05:33 PM   #13
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While those of us who live here know all that to be true, most of Canada doesn't. An artist, musician, or entrepreneur in Canada is much more likely to move to a city with a better cultural reputation, like Montreal, Toronto, Kingston, Calgary, etc, etc...

Take Owen Sound, for example. The city has a population of about 30,000 and yet it was named a cultural capital of Canada. Why? Because something about it, whether its setting, cost of living, reputation, or whatever, attracts people who move there not because there is a job available, but because they WANT to. I have yet to meet someone who moved to London because they WANT to. Virtually everyone I know here came because: a)they were hired by a London company, b)they were hired by UWO, c)they were a student at UWO or Fanshawe, or d) they had family here.

While Londoners know what our city has to offer, most Canadians don't. What London is lacking is the most effective method of advertising around: word of mouth.
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Old January 7th, 2007, 10:53 PM   #14
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Old January 8th, 2007, 02:20 AM   #15
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You hit the nail right on the head. I couldn’t agree with you more Snark!
They will be back! All my good from High school and Western, Fanshawe came back from T.O.

Buy the way I am in you late 20's.
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Old January 8th, 2007, 02:46 AM   #16
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^ Indeed true and very wise.

But consider this: young people don't have their own families and so aren't concerned about finding a "nice place to raise a family" (which London certainly is). The young are more career oriented (or, I guess, drinking and partying oriented, but I'm going to exlude them from my discussion since, among other reasons, the "very educated" and "alcoholic partyers" are often mutually exclusive groups)

London, mostly because of its relative small size, just can't offer a competitive career to the most educated young people.

Take me for example. I'm from London, studying at Cornell University, majoring in Engineering Physics with minors in French, Biomedical Engineering and Economics. Career wise, what could possibly attract me to London?

In the private sector there are few high level research or analyst jobs here, and the few that exist offer neither prestige nor competitive salaries.

In the public sector there's only Western, but I could make twice the money doing the same work elsewhere.

This brings up another issue: dignity. I find it somewhat undeignifying to work for half the wage I could potentially be making. This isn't an issue of money, it's just an issue of having your work appreciated. (Yes, money is only a small component of how an employer shows appreciation... but I'm not going to concern myself with the subtleties of this right now)

I can find a more financially secure and dignified life outside London.
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Old January 8th, 2007, 03:23 AM   #17
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I find it kind of comical thinking how people want to "escape" or want to leave London almost right away.
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Old January 8th, 2007, 03:40 AM   #18
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OK, perhaps I should clarify. I'm talking strictly about why people from other cities (anywhere, ontario, canada, the world), who have never been to London, would want to come here. The reasons I have seen are:
-jobs
-university
-family
But not:
-Culture (musicians, artists, actors, etc)
-Location
-Economic prospects (entrepreneurs)

I'm not saying that people DON'T come for those reasons, I'm not talking about why young people want to "escape", I'm saying that the reason London doesn't have quite the "culture" of other cities (even smaller ones) is that there is simply no reason for those types of people to come here.
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Old January 8th, 2007, 08:26 AM   #19
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Old January 8th, 2007, 08:28 AM   #20
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