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March 31, 2010


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Greg H

No wonder I don't live in Toronto anymore and am now 5 minutes from work in BC.

Seriously, though, even given an unlimited budget, I don't see how enough road/lanes could be built to keep up with demand. There just isn't the space. Even if somehow we could build enough roads that you could travel from anywhere to anywhere at 120 km/h the whole way, people would just end up moving even further away from work (heck, 60 km is only a half hour!).

There is just no way that this is sustainable. Either we need less people (there's a popular notion) or higher density (living & traveling). Cars just can't get there.

Plus, one day the cars will be able to drive themselves (assuming we're still using cars). When this happens, the cars will all be lined up nearly bumper to bumper along the freeway. Some might call it a train...

Electric rail, both high speed long distance, and slower regional is the only feasible solution. Even aircraft are not long term feasible.

According to the CAA here (http://caa.ca/publicAffairs/public-affairs-e.cfm) it cost $6,500 to run a cheap car every year. According to Wikipedia here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_Toronto_Area) the GTA workforce is 2.9M. That's a pot of money that is $18 billion every year. Tell me that couldn't build trains!

Mingo Jones

Does that make me dumb for not wanting to drive? I agree with you Jim that one must look at study with a broad eye and that throwing money at mass transit may not be the answer but putting more cars on the road? Maybe I'm not one of the smart people.


good point!! the traffic light in Toronto need to sync and need to be efficient.

Jason Schlesinger

We need more transit (subways, not LRT) and take the financial hit now rather than later. I work at the SE corner of Yonge/Bloor and can watch the gridlock going westbound on Bloor from my desk. I watch it on my break. I watch it at lunch. It never ends and causes people to do stupid moves (U-turns to attempt to escape it) or cutting in at the last second (left lane ends at Yonge) or driving westbound in the eastbound lanes (cops can meet their quotas at this intersection by the way). I drive to Warden station which is 10 minutes with no traffic and leave my car there and subway to work. I don't want to waste my life sitting in that traffic. Does that make me stupid? I think not. They are stupid for sitting there and getting frustrated and going nowhere fast.


Despite me being a person who drove to work and school(and someone who loves to drive), it was more of a case of its a lesser case of the 2 evil. Toronto has a very backward public transit system, with poor commuting support. For someone who lives in the suburb(I know, an evil in itself) it was hard to get to a spot where you can use the public transit to get in town. The parking system for the subway is undersized and much worse in winter since half of the lot was taken by piles of snow. So in many case it was just easier to drive in town, especially if you have means to park the car. Visiting other major cities in Asia, it was perfectly doable not driving at all, and most of those cities has much newer public transit system that costs less to use. People will continue to drive if TTC is still as expensive and useless as it is now...


'The Toronto Board of Trade published a study earlier this week that said Toronto has the longest average commute of any major city'

... which perhaps also suggests that the average commuter lives well outside the city.

'The study also showed that Toronto has among the best, if not the very best, score when it came to education and intelligence of its work force'

How much of that work force resides within Toronto?

The obvious conclusion, which apparently isn't obvious enough for said Usual Suspects, is that - for whatever reasons - smart people choose to drive'

No, that's not an obvious conclusion or even a logical one. Without knowing the proportion of driving to non-driving commuters (and leaving aside factors such as commuters who drive one day, take transit the next), we don't even have a correlation to go on.

To say that smart people therefore choose to drive is a failure of reasoning and a logical fallacy.

Also, plenty of well-educated people aren't actually all that intelligent, at least some of the time (a/k/a 'sometimes smart people do dumb things').

I'm sure you would agree as well from personal experience that many people who drive, whether commuting or otherwise, aren't particularly smart (as is evident from their driving behaviour).

I could drive to work and consider myself reasonably educated and intelligent but it would be an expensive, impractical and, yes, stupid choice for me to do so.

Luke Ventura

The report, should you have read it, actually showed Toronto among the top in non-auto commutes for North America, ahead of LA, Chicago, Calgary, San Francisco, Vancouver, etc. Here's a direct quote from the report:

"A metro area with a high proportion of non-car commuters is more sustainable. These cities tend to have better access to public transit, better bikepaths, and/or better walking paths, all of which makes them more attractive."

It's on page 42 of the document. Look for yourself.

Matthew Phillips

It's sad when the smart choice is to sit alone in an automobile in traffic for an average of 74 minutes, more than ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD. You know when you think of those fools driving in Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo, or London traffic going no where, realise that Toronto is already experiences worse congestion.

Stephen Henwicks

The intelligent person realizes just how inefficient single occupancy vehicles are with limited road space. Toronto has limited land for parking, cannot widen historic arterials and is in general worse off with more car traffic because of the noise and pollution. Jim Kenzie, as an automotive journalist, why can't you be responsible and reasonable like an educated person and promote transit? Cars aren't always the best way to get around. Most people like cars, even if they don't want to drive everyday because it's not practical in many cases. This means they still want a car for shopping and driving outside the city.

But you have to be like the stereotypical automotive journalist who promotes cars at all times and does not concretely advocate for transit. Because by some bizarre leap of logic you've implied that transit is just for stupid, uneducated people.

We need to look to educated and experienced urban planners, not hack auto journalists for our city building ambitions.

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