toronto traffic jam

toronto traffic congestion

Getting around a city like Toronto can be a nightmare.  Your options are:

  • Drive your car and attempt to find parking.  If you can find parking, be prepared to pay the price. Quite literally.
  • Take the GoTrain.
  • Take the subway and be prepared for delays; or,
  • Take the bus.

While there may be more options in a city like Toronto, driving still seems to be the main method of transportation.  The City of Toronto is now proposing to turn two major highways into toll-roads. The end-game here is two fold:

  1. It will allow the City to collect revenue that will be used to improve the infrastructure; and,
  2. Provide an alternate revenue stream that will allow the city to offer other types of transportation in the future.

Will the toll-road actually help to achieve these goals, or simply provide a band aid solution to a much bigger problem of congestion?

highway 407 road sign

There is literally only one toll road in Ontario.  For all of my American friends, this will come as a surprise.  The 407 connects the western part of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to the eastern part.  Allowing drivers an alternate route to driving through the city directly.  This can be especially helpful in the summer when it seems that everyone and their brother are travelling to their cottage. The surprising part of the toll road, is the cost.  If you want to travel from end to end, you will pay approximately $40 each way.  To some, this is a small price to pay when the alternative is hours of congestion. The City of Toronto has proposed tolls on two of the busiest highways in the city.  But will a toll help alleviate the congestion?  There is no question that it will provide the City with a new revenue stream, but I’m not convinced that it will make people switch to public transit. If the goal is, in fact to get people to switch to public transit, let’s make it more reliable and more affordable.  Yes, parking downtown can be ridiculously expensive, but sometimes the price is worth it on a cold winter’s day after a hockey game.

Toll Booth

The concept of pay-per-service is not new to Ontarians, however, a toll road is a horse of another colour.  On the positive side, a toll road is bound to create jobs, thus helping out the economy in more ways than one. Will this start a trend? Will other cities follow suit?  I’m not convinced in all honesty. After all, we currently only have one toll road.  I’m also not convinced that toll roads are the answer, however, the City of Toronto has turned a blind eye to this problem long enough and there are no good options at this point.  This may end up being a band-aid solution, but one that is going to generate a ton of revenue for the City in the coming years. Whatever the outcome, people will still go into the City.  They will still go to support their favourite sports teams, so I don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing, but only time will tell.

By Staff Writer

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