Why is traffic so bad in Toronto?

The long commutes are just the start of it. Then there’s the road rage, the construction, the pointlessness of sitting in your car for 45 minutes a day in an effort to get to work, just like the guy parked on the highway next to you.

Why is traffic so bad in Toronto? There’s no one, simple answer to it (just ask Malcolm Gladwell – nothing’s that simple).

First off, is it really that bad? Outdated numbers from StatsCan released in 2011 and quoted in this article by the Globe showed that the average commute time for Torontonians was 31 minutes at the time. It’s likely crept up since then, but not that much, in all likelihood.

Still, we Torontonians absolutely hate the traffic here. It’s a nightmare. The shortest of drives can take ages, and it makes us nuts. So nuts, in fact, that our favourite mayor ever, Rob Ford, made it an election issue to make life easier on drivers and end the “war on the car”.

Part of the problem is that while we all know traffic here is insane, no one really knows what to do about it. Before the 2015 Pan Am Games came to TO, the province’s transportation minister revealed a plan for dealing with the influx of traffic that would come with the games. His plan? Basically, hope for the best.

Back to the point. Here are 10 reasons why traffic in Toronto is so horrendous:

  1. The TTC just doesn’t cut it. Ask anyone living north of Lawrence.
  2. Also, the TTC isn’t cheap. $3.25 is one of the highest fares in Canada.
  3. There’s construction everywhere. Just when you think you’ve found a clear path around one construction zone, you find yourself stalled by another.
  4. Drivers are idiots. It’s those guys/girls weaving between lanes that force people to hit their brakes. It slows everyone down.
  5. Left-lane drivers. Seriously, it’s just rude and you’re not teaching anyone any “lessons” by slowing down the left lane traffic.
  6. Just pay attention, jerks. We all missed that light because of you.
  7. It’s a big city. A big city means lots of cars. It’s only natural that the roads will be busy.
  8. We’d love to get on our bikes, but -30 is NOT appropriate for commuting to work by bike. Neither is torrential rain or blazing hot 30 above.
  9. The buses are always late. They’re so unreliable and we’ve got to get to work on time.
  10. It’s not that walkable. Anything outside of the pure downtown area is pretty tough to get to on foot, and it forces people into their cars to get around.

What do you think makes Toronto traffic so unbearable?

Erin Cardone

Born on the Prairies, Erin Cardone grew up knowing there was more to life than canola fields and AAA Alberta Angus. So she escaped, living in Europe and Australia, white-knuckling it through plates of calf brains and raw horse meat, and learning languages she can't remember anymore. After a stint as a jaded, skeptical journalist, she changed tack and began writing rather awesome blogs and showing businesses that advertising is dead, so long live social media, with her businesses Legendary Social Media. She now splits her time between various Canadian cities, Costa Rica and wherever else the wind blows.

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