The decisions in the next few weeks at Council could very well define how the City grows over the next 30 years. The two discussions are how we build and how we move people.

We’ve already outgrown the London Plan projections for population growth, and we are seeing a shifting market to medium and high-density housing builds. Medium and high-density buildings are more affordable for residents and make better financial sense for developers due to rising costs of land, labour, and supplies. Therefore, I encourage Council to adopt the following:

  1. Mode Share Target 3 - Council is being asked to choose the Mode Share Target (% of trips of residents by transportation type - car, bus, bike, walk etc). London currently has a mode share of 23% active (bus, walk, bike etc.) and 77% car. This target is the foundation of the Master Mobility Plan and will define how staff plan for transportation in London for the next few decades. The only viable option that helps us build an affordable city is staff recommended Option 3 (35% walk, bike, bus and 65% drive) and has the potential to get us to meet our climate targets.

  2. Intensification Target - Staff are conducting a Land Needs Assessment, which will identify if London has sufficient lands in our existing Urban Growth Boundary to provide 25 years of residential development. The issue is that we are currently using the 45% London Plan intensification target. The key factor here is ensuring we have a higher intensification target, so we are able to support the Mode Share Option 3 - because good transit and walkable neighbourhoods rely on density. I will be bringing a motion forward to the next council meeting to reflect this need.

These targets are inextricably linked. You cannot have Mode Share Option 3 without a higher intensification target. You cannot have a higher intensification target without picking Mode Share Option 3. And we must pick Mode Share Option 3 if we have any hopes of making our city affordable for taxpayers. We must prioritize compact forms of growth and promote efficient development and land use patterns which will support the financial well-being of London over the long term.

I appreciate the hard work of our staff on the Master Mobility Plan and Land Needs Assessment. I appreciate how dedicated they are to building a liveable and affordable city and choosing Option 3 for the Mode Share and a higher intensification target sets us up for success in the coming decades.

Extracts from the Mode Share Target Report:

“London’s ability to achieve either option is most directly influenced by land use and transit investment. A higher intensification rate supports a more sustainable mobility system. The capacity of existing servicing in some key areas of the city such as the downtown is a consideration for future infrastructure planning. Due to the significant population growth forecasted, significant investments are required in transit, as well as walking and cycling infrastructure to achieve a more sustainable mode share. The MMP will support growth and continue to provide infrastructure for all modes, however Option 3 will provide more Londoners with more viable choices for moving around.”

Land Use Considerations 

“Higher intensification results in higher concentrations of people and jobs and helps increase the utilization of each hour of transit service (making a more cost effective service) and makes travel distances walkable and bikeable for more people. Higher density communities also result in shorter trips that are more adaptable to walking and cycling in combination with transit. Lower density communities require more transit service hours and higher operating costs to achieve the same level of required transit ridership along with bolder incentives to shift to active transportation. 

The current intensification target in The London Plan is 45% of new units to be located within the built area boundary. To achieve Option 2, an intensification rate of 50-60% may be required. To achieve Option 3, an intensification rate of 60- 70% may be required. The City is currently undertaking a land needs study, which includes a review of The London Plan policies related to land supply, such as the intensification rate. Following selection of a final mode share target for the MMP, a sensitivity analysis will be completed to better understand how land use impacts mobility choices in London. Results of the MMP modelling and analysis will be made available to help inform updates to The London Plan.”

Resources & References:

Mode Share Target Report 

Land Needs Assessment Report

Blueprint for More and Better Housing Report

London Plan

  • London Plan Policy 7_ “compact form of growth could save billions of dollars in infrastructure costs and tens of millions of dollars in annual operating costs compared with a highly spread-out form of the same growth over the next 50 years”, “a compact city would reduce energy consumption, decrease air emissions, allow for quality mobility choices and significantly reduce our consumption of prime agricultural lands”. 
  • London Plan Policy 727_ Growth and development will be planned to be compact, mixed-use, transit-supportive and conducive to active forms of mobility.
  • London Plan Policy 453_ Improvements to civic infrastructure to facilitate infill and intensification will be identified and a coordinated plan will be prepared. It will be a high priority to plan civic infrastructure to accommodate infill and intensification, growth and development within the Downtown, Main Street, Transit Village, and Rapid Transit and Urban Corridor Place Types and the Primary Transit Area.
  • London Plan Policy 473, 3, a_ Growth in the form of redevelopment, expansion, or intensification on serviced lands within the Built-Area Boundary of the City will take precedence over growth on undeveloped lands. Capacity will be allocated on the basis of projected demand plus a reasonable contingency.
  • London Plan Policy 698_ We will build our city to facilitate active mobility. The city will be designed to provide infrastructure such as sidewalks, bicycle lanes and pathways, to locate amenities within neighbourhoods so that they accessible, and to achieve levels of density and connectivity that minimize travel distances between destinations.
  • London Plan Policy 724_ Green mobility will be promoted by establishing a city structure that supports rapid transit, transit-oriented design, active mobility, transportation demand management, intensification, and cycling infrastructure throughout the city

Climate Emergency Action Plan - Net-Zero by 2050

  • Incorporate the detailed review of intensification targets, permitted heights, and other measures of intensity in relation to growth trends and climate change mitigation and adaptation as part of the 5-year comprehensive Official Plan review (pg. A-23)
  • Integrate climate change considerations into the Development Charges Background Study and associated growth infrastructure master plans (pg. A-23)
  • Walkable, Complete Neighbourhoods 
    • % of Londoners living within a 15 minute walk/roll of their daily needs (pg. A-24)
  • Increased Active Transportation and Transit (pg. A-18)
    • Number of existing programs and activities 
    • Number of new programs and activities 
    • % of in-town trips in London taken by active transportation and transit 
    • % of trips to/from London taken by bus or rail 
    • Number of registered vehicles per person

Annual Development Report

Residential Intensification Targets (trending towards achieving 45%)

  • 2022 Demonstrates in 2018 that 50% is achievable

Skylar Franke


Lives in the Coves. Ward 11 City Councillor for London Ontario. Community volunteer & lover of the environment.