Friday, September 2, 2011

ETERNAL TRAFFIC HASSLES



POLITICIANS, NOT CARS, ARE THE PROBLEM

There doesn't appear to have been traffic hassles in the Garden of the Eden but I'll bet they started the next day.
When you read about the Ages, you find more examples of downtowns screwed by traffic than there are stop signs in Toronto.
Rome banned daylight deliveries. The London of Dickens could barely move. The avenues of Paris were a wonder until the traffic circling the Arc de Triomphe became so fierce, gendarmes stayed out.
And politicians, particularly in Toronto, have always talked a great game about solving it.  Yet each year it has grown worse so reports saying that Toronto has the worst traffic in the universe have people saying so what else is news.
As long as council pays attention to the 10-speed gliberals who insist that transit and even bikes are the salvation to the mess on our roads, there's no hope.
Certainly not with the red tape monstrosities  of toll roads or toll lanes.
Consider the basic fact that what you see is what you get with our streets. No one is about to broaden Yonge. Even in much of suburbia, there's neither the space, money or will to build major changes. Look at the ruination of Black Creek, which was supposed to be an expressway before politicians chickened out.
The answer to the daily headache is that city has to move more vehicles more quickly on existing roads. We have to ignore those who refuse to admit that most people and all goods do not move on transit but on the same roads that City Hall has handicapped.
Just try moving a couch on the bus.
It would make sense and save money, frustration and pollution if we made the roads more efficient. An easy start would be to cure this measles of stop signs. Just double fines and take cops away from their cash-register speed traps. No need for a stop sign at every intersection.
Too many neighbourhoods have been turned into baffling mazes because they have enough clout to wall themselves off with signs, one-way streets, and barriers so that those awful other people who drive will avoid their streets.
But what do we hear out of City Hall?  Not easy solutions that would save hundreds of millions but the  transit-in-the-sky. Hey guys, remember that transit uses roads too.
We just had another official confess that 80% of speed humps aren't needed. We used to call them bumps before the city flattened them, probably because of law suits, complaints about damage and the refusal of emergency vehicles and the TTC to use streets with artificial bumps midst the potholes..
Not only do they cost $3,000 each, there's more pollution. And bad backs!
Anti-car zealots love to lecture City Hall about getting more people into each vehicle. Of course we should work towards that by giving benefits to car poolers. But then I would also like to see more than one rider on each bike.
Since our cyclists are more aggressive than our drivers, and broad streets during rushhour aren't quite the conduit they could be because of a few bikes sterilizing a lane, the city should ban cyclists from major streets during those hours. (I'm sure my son Brett who often bikes to work, can find side streets.)
Back when we blossomed as a regional centre, back when the CCM plant on Lawrence near Weston was one of the world's largest producers of bikes, Toronto was famous for traffic innovations.
A rookie councillor just called for traffic signal synchronization. A good idea, and it was when Toronto was a pioneer in that 50 years ago. Of course City Hall screwed that up, just as it killed every other good idea in moving people.
The Sun's founding publisher, Doug Creighton, dispatched me to Singapore because it was renowned for its innovations, like one that divided drivers into groups that had to alternate driving into the core. The engineers interviewed me instead because their texts had written by Sam Cass, Toronto's traffic boss over four decades, and wanted to know what great stuff Toronto was doing.
Not much, I told them. Because the official policy was to screw the driver.
Now there's hope, if we can get the Fords to lift their gaze above ground. Making what you have work is not as glamorous as subways to nowhere but it's smarter.

1 comment:

pinkee said...

Agree with that if management is serious then Toronto's traffic problem can be solved.Hope politician will took a serious consideration about this issue.Thanks for wonderful post.
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