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July 2009
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If you thought Traffic Congestion in Toronto was bad …

Last night I got home from work and decided to go for a long but leisurely ride. I jumped on my bike and headed west along the waterfront trail towards Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington, etc …and ended up weaving my way through Mississauga.

I was absolutely shocked by the traffic of the Toronto bedroom community. It wasn’t the predictable congestion of downtown Toronto, it was chaotic and random and looked like it would drive any commuter to insanity. With it’s 6 lane roads with dedicated double left turn lanes and right turn lanes at intersections, why wasn’t the traffic moving?

I was also surprisingly amazed at the number of people that used the Mississauga transit system – it is after all archaic, completely surface routes with no dedicated transit or carpool lanes, i.e. it moves at whatever speed the traffic is moving.

Why is the traffic so congested in these outlier cities?

Mississauga, and many of the other bedroom communities, is no longer just a commuter city. They have vibrant industry that result in many people commuting to these bedroom communities. But the reason it doesn’t function well is represented by the picture above, long blocks, empty sidewalks and a million people trying to get around.

This problem will only get worse. According to Smart Commute already more people commute into Mississauga than out of Mississauga every day. Over the next 30 years it is predicted that Mississauga’s population will grow by 22% and the number of people working here will grow by 31%. Overall that means even longer commute times, denser congestion resulting in increased pollution and stress levels. And this is only data for Mississauga other jurisdictions will face similar growth.

It will be a combination of city planners, traffic engineers and visionaries to improve this situation. Otherwise Southern Ontario will be plagued with the traffic congestion and pollution from all the single commuter cars.