Urban planning examples mean little to Greater Victoria

Big cities have little in common with us, given their populations

Re: Better job needed in promoting transit, urban densification (Letters, April 20)

This letter states that encouraging mass transit and urban densification will reduce government costs for service provision.

Hong Kong and Singapore are quoted as examples where total transportation costs are relatively low as a proportion of gross domestic product. Are these urban development principles and examples relevant to Greater Victoria?

Our designated metropolitan area, which excludes the Gulf Islands and most of the large rural areas west of Sooke, has a geographical area of 697 square kilometres and a population of about 350,000. Singapore, at 710 sq. km, is almost the same geographical area as us, but has a population of 5.2 million – 15 times higher.

Hong Kong, at 1,104 sq. km is about 50-per-cent larger than Greater Victoria, but has a population of seven million – 20 times higher.

The generalized and simplistic views expressed in the letter from Avi Ickovich are not helpful in determining effective transportation plans for our region. It would be valuable to find out if the high-density Uptown development in Saanich has increased regional travel by attracting longer trips from a wider catchment area, as an alternative to short local shopping trips. What improvement has there been in transit usage?

Regional travel patterns are complex. Chasing higher density may not be the best answer.

David Langley


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