This post was inspired by Grannymar's post on traffic in Ireland.
It isn’t easy getting into city mode again. The traffic. Mein Gott, the traffic.
I got locked into some kind of maelstrom outside Yorkdale Mall today.
A place where ramps run off other ramps until you’re left with nothing but a gigantic snarl.
In every sense of the word. Snarling drivers, snarling SUVs, humping Hummers, me in the middle in my little Echo. Stopped. Slight claustrophobia. Darted off down a side street and took my breath and mourned my little village in Newfoundland. I was returning from dropping the grandgirl off at her house in Toronto from Markham where I’m living for the next few montha.
Public transit sucks the bag, big time, when it comes to the outlying suburban areas of Toronto. While it is superb in the city core itself.
Here is what a web request for transit information looks like for a 30km drive that takes me 30 minutes to my daughter’s house in Toronto:
We could not find any connections between the origin of your trip and the destination (ending point) of your trip at the requested time.
This may be due to one of the following:
· Your request is for times during the day when service is not available.. .
· Your start and/or end points are not within 0.8 km of the closest transit stop.
· Your ride will require an unreasonable number of transfers or a duration of longer than three hours.
Longer than three hours. Transit involving bus, train, subway and bus. A good runner could manage it in less. Hell, a good horse could probably halve the time.
I’ve been bleating about the lack of efficient public transit, 24 hour public transit, for more years than I’d care to count.
Why can’t it be managed? Yes, the public will have to subsidize it, like it does education, healthcare, police and fire services et al. But the benefits would far outweigh the costs, both on the environment and less traffic on the roads which often involve 16-24 lanes across in Toronto. Also serious vehicular carnage might be reduced or eliminated.
Here is info from CBC (2004, I could find no recent stats.):
With nearly 20 million cars and trucks on our roads, automobiles have become a fact of life for Canadians. But our reliance on them comes at a cost. Over the past 50 years nearly 200,000 Canadians have died in traffic accidents — more than were killed in both world wars combined. In addition, despite vastly improved safety measures automobile accidents continue to be a major cause of death of younger Canadians.
My inner cynic, always active, follows the money to the foundering Big 5 of the auto industry, the massive construction and maintenance of highways, the complete over-usage of trucks and our old friend Big Oil and its powerful lobby.
But with the days of cheap, accessible oil just about history, perhaps Gaia will once again assert herself and the days of Happy Motoring to and from Mammoth Malls and MacMansions will be replaced by solar powered trams. Now that’s a project worth throwing a couple of billion at, surely? Let's call it a Bail-in.