WATCH LIVE: Ryerson professor takes us for a ride to point out the reasons for gridlock. Mark McAllister reports.
TORONTO – Parked cars and left turns are a big reason for gridlock on major roads in Toronto, according to a Ryerson University urban planning professor.
Raktim Mitra took some time from teaching classes to go for a ride with Global News through the city’s downtown core to point out some of things drivers run into every day.
“This, as you can see, is a four lane street but there (are) only two lanes of traffic,” he said. “You shouldn’t have parking on main streets.”
His observations came as we drove south on Church Street to Queen Street E., west on Queen to Spadina Ave., east on Harbord Ave. and Wellesley St. before heading south again on Church.
There were a couple of occasions when vehicles were using the middle lane to turn left and keeping traffic from continuing straight.
“There shouldn’t be any left turns on the main streets,” he said. “If there is traffic flow then there should be free flow traffic right?”
The issue of delivery trucks blocking lanes is one both city councillor Josh Matlow and Toronto’s new mayor-elect John Tory have addressed before.
Suggestions have included increasing fines and enforcing the city’s bylaws with more towing.
Construction and development have consistently been raised as problems for commuters trying to maneuver their way through arterial roads.
“It seems like every street there is something going,” Mitra said. “I keep wondering, couldn’t they (have) coordinated better?”
The intersection of Bathurst Street and Dundas Street in Toronto is now closed to traffic until November 20 for TTC track replacement, roadway repairs, sidewalk repairs and watermain work.
Better traffic signal timing is a solution Toronto’s transportation service division is currently trying to coordinate. The city’s 5-year congestion management plan is to improve the timing at major intersections throughout the city up to 25 per cent by 2018.
At the end of our journey, Mitra suggested traffic problems might never be fixed altogether.
“Getting rid of congestion all together is not a realistic target,” he said. “The target instead it is how can we make the system more efficient.”