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July 2010
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Welcome to Gridlock

Toronto has been said to have two seasons ‘Winter’ and ‘Construction.’ On this hot, humid, sticky day traveling through the Toronto area I noticed that there seems to be even more construction.

It seems like most north-south routes through the core of the city are under construction (Bayview, Mount Pleasant, Yonge and Avenue). And a select few east-west streets are also under construction, namely the Gardiner Expressway and Bloor Street, Toronto’s main lateral arterials.

Construction is only adding to an existing gridlock problem. Last week the National Post reported that Toronto was rated the 2nd worst city in the world for traffic congestion by IBM. Johannesburg took the #1 spot for worst traffic. Residents perceive that traffic is getting worse (9% of commuters felt the quality of their commute had declined) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OCED) estimated that Toronto lost $3.3 billion last year in productivity due to the congested roads.

Toronto’s gridlock is getting worse, between the increase in population and the increase in construction it is excruciating to travel through the city by car. And currently there is no public transit solution worth considering (would you rather be stuck on a crowded bus or in your own car?)

Someone said to me the other day,

Is all the construction a conspiracy by David Miller to convince Dalton McGuinty and Queens Park that we need Transit City Now?

The solution is not just a mass transit upgrade for Toronto. Part of the solution also includes a cultural shift (i.e getting people out of their individual cars and back on to buses, getting people to move back into the city and out of the suburbs). It should also include more bike lanes, but bike lanes with a buffer from traffic; Toronto’s driving culture still isn’t capable of sharing lanes.

Regardless of the outcome, Toronto is stuck with massive delays, congestion and, thus, pollution from the added construction to the gridlock. And while I understand that there is a huge infrastructure gap and the roads NEED to be fixed a better construction mitigation plan should have been sought out.


Pingback from Tweets that mention Sasha on the Street » Welcome to Gridlock —
Time July 6, 2010 at 8:14 am

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by sasha gollish. sasha gollish said: Toronto ranked 2nd for worst traffic #traffic #gridlock […]

Comment from Adil
Time July 6, 2010 at 6:58 pm

i think there should also be incentives for businesses to move back to the city. That’s one of the main reason’s we even have these problems in the first place – because people have to commute to their workplaces that are in Mississauga and RH etc.

Comment from sasha
Time July 7, 2010 at 8:21 am

I couldn’t agree more Adil. The increase in congestion is not just along the north-south routes, for the traditional commute into the central business district (CBD) in downtown TO, but congestion is also compounded by the increase in commercial and industrial zones along the east-west corridors of the 401 and 407 in the north end of the city.
The idea of all work being located in the CBD is not feasible (i.e. it’s too expensive and not ideal for some companies) but there should be more incentives for employees to live closer to their places of employment.
If the real costs of commuting were passed on to the consumer there would be a shift in travel patterns.

Comment from Mauricio
Time August 3, 2010 at 11:52 am

You have a great blog. I’m a transportation planner but I have been unemployed for some time due to personal circumstances that I had to address. I’m trying to get back to the job market but openings seem to be limited these days. In your opinion, where is the best way to start finding positions in Ontario? I would appreciate some advice.

Comment from Mauricio
Time August 3, 2010 at 12:00 pm

By the way, regarding your blog post, I think Toronto definitely needs more subway and LRT lines to provide faster and more accessible transit. Road maintenance is inevitable, hardly a conspiracy of government authorities. I also think higher gas prices, result of depleting oil reserves, will push people off the car into the mass transit systems. We need to prepare for the future.

Comment from Matteo Enrique Bolzano
Time August 10, 2010 at 10:19 pm

I feel congested.