Expert Consultants Invited to Toronto to Come Up with Permanent Solutions for Grinding Gridlock

Update: See previous post – October 18, 2010 Toronto – Total Gridlock, March 30, 2010 Toronto Ranks 19 Out of 19 in Daily Commuting Times

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Construction sign, followed by a "Road Closed" sign, helps to add to the already congested streets in Toronto's downtown core.

If it isn’t events taking place in the downtown core that has the effect of shutting down streets, it is the constant construction projects that assist in the delay of traffic.

When on average, a Torontonian spends 80 minutes (1 hour, 20 minutes) leaving their home and going to work and then returning home again, this short story will come as no surprise to those who call Toronto home.

One thing is certain however, if you work close to the downtown core and you work on a Saturday or Sunday, your commuter times to and from work increase dramatically. Normally on the weekend, almost every weekend, there is a great event or events, which inevitably has the effect of shutting the streets of the city down. Next weekend, the Canada Day or Dominion Day weekend, the City of Toronto expects to shut-down twenty-two (22) intersections in the downtown core for the annual “Gay Pride Parade”.  This may be another one of Toronto’s great events, however, it does serve to shut down the downtown core to motorists.

Accompanying the constant downtown construction, is the "Road Closed" signs


Toronto is unique as a city and recognizes that a “one size fit all” solution is not going to appropriately solve the myriad of challenges presently facing it.

The City of Toronto is inviting experts througout the world, on transit and traffic to help find solutions to the city’s mounting gridlock and its approach to transit expansion.

The best ideas in subway, light rail, cycling lanes and transit connections will be discussed at a November 4, 2011 symposium called Toronto Talking Mobility.

Planned by U of T’s Cities Centre, the Pembina Institute and other civic groups concerned about the cost of congestion and lack of transit in the Toronto region, the conference will incorporate original research papers, public input and social media.

A November 3, 2011 public forum with speakers selected to engage the public will precede the conference.

“We really have to get the city, particularly people in the suburbs, being a little more thoughtful about their city and the transportation system so they can push the politicians,” said Cities Centre director Eric Miller, a key organizer.

Looking north on University Avenue in downtown TorontoVirtually any city in Europe has things to teach Toronto, he said.

Munich, for example, has different transportation technologies, from trams and buses to subways and regional rail that all complement one another.

“There is no one solution. It’s how different technologies fit together,” he said.

Numerous signs make it confusing for motorists to know where and when they can park their vehicles in Toronto

Organizers plan to involve experts who will be in the city for the Canadian Urban Transit Association conference the first weekend in November.

Topics up for discussion will include how to better connect different modes of travel, including transit, cars, bikes and walking, and how to raise money to pay for transportation improvements.

The Toronto Board of Trade has warned that gridlock already costs the region $6 billion a year and has elevated commute times to an average 80 minutes, among the highest in North America.

With a million more cars expected on area roads by 2031 that situation is going to get worse, potentially adding an additional 27 minutes to the daily grind — another 2½ work weeks annually on average behind the wheel.

Congestion and gridlock has also been identified as a top priority of the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance.

A year ago, the coalition of

Construction and gridlock also affects pedestrians on a daily basis

civic leaders released a report looking at 12 ways to raise between $1 billion and $2 billion annually to expand transit in the region. Among the options were road tolls, a regional gas tax, parking levies and a regional sales tax.

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