Toronto is Canada's largest city and the fifth largest in North America. So it should come as no surprise that commuting in Toronto is becoming an increasingly time-consuming venture. The traffic in the city, especially during rush hour, can often force a commuter to take upwards of an hour to get home from work for a trip that generally takes less than 20 minutes.
Sun Media's Jenny Yuen likens Toronto's traffic situation to “clogged arteries” in an article from last month, highlighting the bumper-to-bumper traffic that is commonplace in the city. She writes that while the number of car owners in T.O. continue to increase, the streets themselves are not keeping up with the appropriate expansion.
“Toronto drivers spend roughly two work weeks per year stuck in traffic on the city's congested streets and highways,” writes Yuen. Interviewing CFRB's traffic reporter, Guy Valentine, Yuen notes that in 15 years, not much has changed on Toronto's gridlocked roads.
Says Valentine: “Even when I used to help out my parents at the bakery, we used to have clients that were down on the Danforth and there were days when you just dreaded driving down the Don Valley because it was a crapshoot.”
Valentine, who has been reporting traffic for 20 years, remarks how The Don Valley Parkway Toronto's highway connecting the downtown core with the northern parts of the city is more like a parking lot. His experience covering the DVP has taught him that there is no real way to “beat” the traffic while one is driving on it. In fact, it has gotten to the point where it doesn't even matter what time of day it is, the Don Valley Parkway remains a busy roadway.
Ministry of transportation spokesman, Will MacKenzie agrees that rush hour in Toronto these days doesn't start at the assumed 5 p.m.. Instead, it lasts from approximately 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The trend, apprarently, is set to continue well into the future. Says John Howe, Metrolinx investment strategy vice-president: “In about five years, we'll start to see the first new projects with the first signs of congestion relief in York Region and parts of the City of Toronto.”
Howe also revealed that the average commute in Toronto these days is an hour and 22 minutes, which will jump to an hour and 49 minutes if the proposed transit plans to do not come to pass.
Perhaps retired University of Toronto traffic engineer VF Hurdle offers the most sound advice to the city's drivers. And that is, to simply get comfortable in your car.