Short-term Gain And Long-term Pain: A Case Study Of The 2015 Toronto Pan American Games And The Union-pearson Express
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Mega-events have been credited with being catalysts of urban regeneration and accelerating infrastructure development. Staging a mega-event not only requires significant investment in event-related facilities but also usually necessitates upgrades to transportation infrastructure. This paper broadly examines the role of mega-events in fast-tracking urban improvements as well as the ramifications of accelerated development on cities. In particular, it discusses how the 2015 Pan American Games held in Toronto fast-tracked the completion of the Union-Pearson Express, a rail link connecting the city's downtown and primary airport, after the project had been stalled for years. This case study reveals the tensions between the long-term planning goals of the host city and more short-term demands for mega-events. The Union-Pearson Express is criticized for being inconvenient, inaccessible and over-priced, resulting in adverse impacts on the environment and human health and not doing enough to encourage public transportation. This paper contends that the Union-Pearson Express offered short-term gain associated with the Pan American Games that fails to address the long-term transit and other needs of the Greater Toronto Area. It is very much short-term gain for the price of long-term pain.