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The idea of not having to use a vehicle to commute or go shopping is becoming more and more attractive
By Barbara Lawlor – Toronto Sun
Location is always at the top of people’s lists when looking for a new home or condominium. And as many of you know, the new wave in Toronto is to leave the car at home and take the subway.
With the increasing sensibility toward leaving less of a carbon footprint on the environment, many buyers — condominium in particular — are choosing to live close to public transportation and amenities. The idea of not having to use a vehicle to commute or go shopping is attractive. In fact, many urban condo dwellers do not even own cars anymore.
The benefits to decreased vehicle use include fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and there are many pluses for the residents themselves. For one thing, they get more exercise by bicycling or walking to local shops and subway and bus stops.
For another, they save thousands on the cost of a vehicle, gas, licence, maintenance and repairs — all money they can put toward their mortgage to build equity. This is especially helpful for first-time buyers, who can save more easily for a down payment if they don’t have a car payment and the other expenses that come along with vehicle ownership to worry about.
Quality of life
Today’s condominium builders in the GTA are coming through with wonderful buildings that are on or close to subway and/or bus lines. This practice is in line with Ontario’s Places to Grow legislation, which has the double goal of sustainability for communities and a higher quality of life for those who live and work in them.
Certainly, building a condominium close to the subway is a great example of using the existing infrastructure efficiently, which is also part of Places to Grow.
Spectacular examples of new condominiums that are situated near the subway include FIVE — Condos at 5 St. Joseph and One Bloor Condominiums, both at the dynamic intersection of Toronto’s Yonge and Bloor Streets. Merci Le Condominium and The Bayview are in the multi-award-winning NY Towers community at Bayview and Sheppard, and are steps from public transit. Pears on the Avenue, at Avenue and Davenport Roads, is only a few minutes’ walk to the subway. The Palm at Yonge and Finch is so handy to public transportation, that commuting downtown is a breeze from this locale.
And Emerald City at Sheppard Avenue and Don Mills Road in North York even offers direct access to the Sheppard subway and an underground pathway to the fabulously revamped Fairview Mall. Response to all of these condominiums has been enthusiastic. What is amazing today is the number of condominiums that are coming to market with a full one-third of the suites not available with parking. Five years ago, we would not have dreamed of offering less than 95% of the suites with a spot attached to them. Nowadays, this is not considered a negative, even for resale, because of the consciousness-raising that has gone on in the public regarding environmental responsibility.
Alternatives to driving
People are realizing that there is an alternative to driving a car, sitting in gridlock much of the day and spending thousands each year for the privilege of doing so. A bit of exercise walking to the subway is good for the heart and the waistline.
Plus, taking public transportation is easier in the winter and allows for reading and doing paperwork on the way to and from work. And when you consider the fact that in 2009, the Toronto Transit Commission accommodated 471,233,000 passenger trips via bus, streetcar, subway and RT, the implications for the environment are obvious.
The great news is that if living near public transportation is important to you as a condo shopper, you will find an array of gorgeous buildings to choose from in Toronto and the 905 municipalities.
To help achieve intensification, builders are clustering buildings around transportation hubs in these areas that connect with the city’s system. It’s good for everyone involved, and will help to create a sustainable future for us all.
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