In regards to the presence of change in my personal life, I'm focusing on the concept of transitioning over the next little while. An obvious way to look at this theme is by figuratively looking at how we, as people, get from one place to another. Because sometimes I can be pragmatic too.
For some this is by car, by bike, or by their own two feet. And let's not discount ferries. For me at the moment, it's by using Ontario's various forms of public transportation.
In the past, I've been a sporadic user of both the GO train and TTC (Toronto Transit Commission for any readers elsewhere). Now, I'm experiencing the transit transition (sorry, I had to). I'm on it most days of the week.
A lot of people ask me how I'm liking taking the GO train from Oakville and are often startled when I tell them that it's not too bad. I'm lucky to still be living in the GTA with a fairly direct commute along Lakeshore into the city. Perhaps it's me being optimistic, but I don't mind having the 40ish minutes every morning and evening of my alone time. Well, alone time with a hundred of my fellow commuters. The commute is when I allow myself to open my novel and read. And the service is pretty bad on my phone so I let myself relax and disconnect. Or even just be in my head and stare out the window. It's peaceful....so long as I get a seat.
But I do have complaints. For starters, the GO train is belligerently expensive. I remember at a young age as a child who was driven around by her parents, I used to feel a strong stigma around public transit. If I was right, it seemed a large part of the population believed it was meant for a lower class. However, if that stigma still exists, there are still plenty of people of varying classes who do the 9-5 commute and while this unwavering fee is just a part of that routine, I can't help but cry a little inside every time I tap my PRESTO card.
That being said, I guess I do have options. But frankly, not enough. My options are to drive or take the train. The traffic in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) exceeds the fees on a scale of belligerence. I'm also pretty keen to reduce my carbon footprint. So the Lakeshore West train is the option I choose and if I miss that, I'm pretty much screwed.
This makes me ponder (while I gaze out the window on my 40 minute train ride)... the urban sprawl is succeeding the pace at which the transit is developing. Canada is a massive country and that makes it harder to connect between it's cities and outer suburban areas. The population of the GTA is only getting greater. With Toronto's relentless housing market, people are being and will be pushed into outer suburbs, to an extent where the suburbs will eventually face a similar dilemma.
There's a great three-part video series by Evergreen in association with the Globe and Mail that goes into the history of Toronto's development, the Growth Plan that's been established to combat urban sprawl, a discussion on the politics of change in the inner city, and how the transit systems and multiple urban centres can be developed in a way to solve the problems that are arising.
I find it most interesting what's been said on the politics of change. People like the cozy houses and convenient environments in inner Toronto neighbourhoods. There are many who are unwilling to compromise and introduce high-density apartment buildings into their neighbourhoods, and this is something that I can sympathize with from both sides. I'm nostalgic and sentimental. I love neighbourly atmospheres, I love comfort, and change makes me uncomfortable. But being fixated on these ideals may detrimental to the city as a whole. Prices on these "cute Toronto houses" have inflated and have turned it into a very competitive market, making it an inaccessible place to live. Perhaps this inability to change the city's infrastructure and accommodate the growth will in the long run affect our quality of life.
Until some positive change hopefully occurs, you can catch me on the GO train or the TTC.