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Toronto has worse gridlock than New York, Montreal, Berlin, London and L.A.

(Image: Paul Sherwood, from the Toronto Life Flickr pool)

Sure, there’s some good news in the latest Toronto Board of Trade report: Toronto is among the most prosperous of global cities, we’ve attracted the highest percentage of immigrants, and we have some of the best-educated people living here. But who cares about stuff like that?  Not the press. Despite these more upbeat angles, every major paper in the city focused on the traffic snarls.

Says the Globe:

Commuters in the Greater Toronto Area suffer through longer round trips than their counterparts in 18 other major centres, including notoriously congested Los Angeles, according to a new report commissioned by the Toronto Board of Trade.

The board’s second annual “scorecard on prosperity” concluded the average GTA commute lasts a punishing 80 minutes for drivers and public-transit riders alike, putting the region an “embarrassing” last place behind not only L.A., but also the gridlocked metropolises of New York, London and Montreal.

The study comes in the wake of Dalton McGuinty’s decision to delay $4 billion in transit improvements and David Miller explicitly asking drivers to avoid “road repair rage”—all of which makes Toronto seem like a great place to work, if only one could get there.

The embarrassing score on traffic made Toronto the fourth-most prosperous city examined, ranking just under Boston, Dallas and Barcelona. Looks like nothing was learned from the Vancouver Olympics: even in a report commissioned by a Toronto business group, our city didn’t make it onto the podium.

• GTA has worst commutes in 19-city survey [Globe and Mail]
• Toronto commuting times worst of 19 major cities, study says [Toronto Star]
• Congestion costing $5 billion annually: Report [Toronto Sun]

  • Josh D

    The press doesn’t care about all that other stuff cause it’s not news.

    A reliable source determining that Torontonians have a longer than average commute is huge news, especially during the election.

    This campaign may be won by he who sways the North Yorkers and Etobicokeans (who significantly outnumber us downtowners, by the way.)

    And let me tell you, getting to work faster is a big issue north of Bloor and west of the park…

  • JFK

    Subways – other big cities are a few to several decades ahead of us. No reason to keep all these streetcars chugging. Eliminate some of those lines and the frequent cost of track repairs. Fewer drivers will move more people, faster.

    Parking – reality is people DO drive, so why not encourage them to to leave their cars at the PERIPHERY of downtown? Build up huge affordable green-P lots for cars that make it worth staying out of the core. People will walk the last few blocks or even use shuttle transit.

    It’s not all about union jobs or squeezing big bucks out of parking lots & infractions. It’s our future. The city needs to function! Instead Toronto is being driven to the point of crisis.

    Let’s be like Montreal & make people FORGET their car, so much as possible. We will drive less, will breath easy, and people will be out more shopping and eating. Lifestyle improves, lower pay jobs become more viable, and costs to insurance and health care drop.

    Time to wake up. It’s not good here.

  • JFK

    Amended first paragraph:

    “Subways – other big cities are a few to several decades ahead of us. No reason to keep all these streetcars chugging. Eliminate some of those lines, the added congestion, and the frequent cost of street track repairs. Fewer drivers will move more people, faster, with subways.”

  • Rossa

    I just returned from an 18 month gig working for a Lisbon based bank. Let me tell you, I’m embarrased about Toronto. When our Lisbon counterparts came to Toronto and wanted to take the subway from downtown to an office just outside the city, I was so embarrased about the 80 minutes it took to get there! It was a 15 minute drive, but an 80 minute transit ride! How embarassing!

    Plus they couldn’t understand how many busy corners especially along Queen St, King and Dundas Streets did not have subway stops. I responded: we simply don’t have the population to support it. At that point my Portuguese co-worker laughed! He said that either our unions or government simply haven’t cared enough to do this. He said it was a shame that our state (provincial) and federal governments did so little considering Toronto was the economical capital of Canada. He was SHOCKED!

    Portugal is supposedly behind Canada economically yet both of their major cities have excellent transportation.

    Let’s not discuss our airport, where it’s located and the distance from downtown and the difficulty getting to and from. That was another matter altogether. I couldn’t explain how taxi cabs weren’t allowed in the airport to pick us up for $50 to get us downtown so we paid $75 to Aerofleet for a quick 25 minute ride. He was SHOCKED!!

    I’m ashamed to be a Torontonian!

  • Victor Pierobon

    There’s a solution for subways that I suggested to the TTC in 2008. The solution requires the addition of 2 platforms per station. For example, the Dundas subway stop would have 2 parallel southbound and 2 northbound platforms.
    ====(A)======
    =======//====(B)======\\============== <> southbound track
    ====(D)======
    As you can see in the above diagram, platform C & B are the existing platforms, but D and A are the two new additional parallel platforms. The trains that stop at all stations would normally use platforms D and A, allowing the “express” trains to pass through, while the “all stops trains” get “out of the way” by using the new parallel platforms.

    The express trains can be color coded, as would be the platforms, that is if we alternate colors, say… red, blue, yellow per station, then the express train that is colored yellow will only stop on one third of all stations, i.e. only stations with the same yellow color. One can also have special express trains color, say, Green for express trains that only stop at the most popular stations, say finch, sheppard, eglinton, bloor, dundas and union. In essence this reduces the number a stops that any one train need to do which in turn speed it up (it takes about 3 minutes to stop and start a train).

    The other benefits is the complete cessation of subway services failures due to one stuck train on one platform, the other trains can bypass the disabled train using the alternate “duplicate” platform.

    The “beauty” of this solutions is that no new tunnel is required, just a side expansion of the platforms.

    TTC took my suggestions but never heard back since 2008. Maybe there’s a technical issue that they know which they have not told me.

    Let me know if the diagram looks confusing. I can draw a better one if you want to publish it.

  • Victor Pierobon

    I looks like the diagram did not appear as it should in my previous comment.

    ====(A)======
    =======//====(B)======\\============== <> southbound track
    ====(D)======

    I hope it does now.

  • Victor Pierobon

    ====(A)======
    =======//====(B)======\\============== northbound track

    =======\\====(C)======//============== southbound track
    ====(D)======

    another try ..

  • Victor Pierobon

    ………====(A)======
    =======//====(B)======\\============== <> southbound track
    ………====(D)======

    This diagram should appear correct.

  • Victor Pierobon

    nope. blame the font.

  • Victor Pierobon

    ———====(A)======
    =======//====(B)======\\============== northbound track

    =======\\====(C)======//============== southbound track
    ———====(D)======

    Ignore the “-” line since they are used to space the diagram correctly.

 

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