toronto traffic

The very people who create Toronto traffic are complaining about Toronto traffic

There's a common saying that goes, "You aren't stuck in traffic, you are traffic." But there's an even more common mentality among the suburbs and less-dense parts of Toronto that has people thinking the city should be built for their convenience.

And whether it's Blue Jays GM Mark Shapiro whining about suburbanites not being able to easily drive to the dome or some other grievance out of cookie-cutter subdivision land, people love to complain about traffic as if they don't contribute to it.

"The traffic people in Toronto put up with: it is insane. I don't recall it ever being as bad as it is now, post-pandemic," tweeted political commentator Warren Kinsella.

The post was met with dozens of comments seeking to assign blame for the bumper-to-bumper traffic, though none of the angry drivers seemed to consider themselves part of the problem.

"It is unbearable," said one Twitter user who is almost certainly still driving despite the supposedly unbearable inconvenience, throwing in the barb that "the city is so poorly managed."

There are some ridiculous takes out there, like a self-described "avid angler and boater" claiming that "The Danforth is really no longer a useable road. At least some of the bike lanes need to be removed. It was a fun experiment but it doesn't work."

It goes without saying that there are far more routes across the city for drivers than there are protected cycling lanes. Suggesting that bike lanes be removed to better accommodate your fast-moving automobile (possibly hauling a boat) is some hardcore entitled anti-urbanism.

At least some people in the Twitter thread spoke with some sanity, including one saying that "All those tourists from the County are to blame." Others' comments weren't as gentle.

It's as if people have forgotten that Toronto has a *gasp* public transit system that you can ride without having to moan about or contribute to traffic.

And sure, the TTC isn't exactly a gilded chariot in terms of transportation options. Many don't feel safe using transit these days, but the very bike lanes that drivers love to complain about can (and I'm going to break the minds of motorists with this revelation) actually be used to get around the city. 

If you're commuting from the burbs or neighbourhoods not well-connected by transit and cycling routes, bike lanes probably aren't going to solve your traffic woes.

But in many cases, parking at a GO Transit station and hopping on a train into the heart of the city can be much faster than navigating congested downtown streets with your car and much cheaper than finding a place to park it.

There are some very good arguments supporting the decision to own a car in the city, and it can be a frustrating experience to get around the city even in the best of conditions.

But cities (excluding auto-obsessed U.S. cities) are not and should not be built for the convenience of cars. Ever. Under any circumstance. Full stop.

Lead photo by

Jack Landau

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