DO TRAFFIC COPS EVER HELP TRAFFIC?
It's 10 a.m. just west of University on Adelaide. Illegal parking has congealed both sides of the street.
A cop, probably paid duty, stands nonchalantly on a corner ignoring everything and everyone except his cell phone. Several bulky construction trucks block everything. Two workers argue. No work is being done.
Then a cyclists zips the wrong-way on the one-way street of Simcoe through a red light. No one pays any attention, certainly not the cop.
Just another weekday morning downtown.
On a weekday morning, the outside lane of University just north of Adelaide is blocked with City of Toronto vehicles. Parks employees are grooming the orphan parkland in the middle of the avenue. An hour later, they move to the other side of the strip of grass and flowers and block the other side.
And a journalist wonders why they can't do that early or late or on weekends. After all, I've worked newspaper shifts starting at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., midnight and 2 p.m. Why can't our municipal employees also work similar shifts so they don't block major roads when traffic is heavy?
Or do they have to act like librarians staffing our libraries during most of the hours when most people can't use them?
Remember when banking hours were only from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. If stuffy bankers can change, why can't all those public workers who supposedly serve taxpayer? Or doesn't that fit with time-clock mentality and fat pay for easy work?
The first opportunity for drivers to drive between Park Lawn and Prince Edward to Royal York as they head north from The Queensway is Glenroy Ave. For 20 blocks they can't cross Mimico Creek because some objected to a bridge decades ago. So the rest of us in Etobicoke have been sentenced for an eternity to a crippled traffic flow.
So Glenroy, which is only four blocks long, is a very busy street. It was used by emergency vehicles and buses and hundreds of vehicles, and of course all the illegal parking by parents dropping off their kids at the junior school on the street.
Now there are speed humps between the new stoplight at one end and the deliberate narrowing at the other. If you need a firetruck or ambulance when seconds really count, you won't get any quick help along Glenroy because emergency vehicles won't use streets with speed humps.
And the throat constriction makes it difficult for cars to get in or out, and just one truck can plug it dangerously as cars try to squeeze by.
I know. I have lived one house away from Glenroy for nearly 50 years. I know that the traffic that doesn't want to face the road hassles use the first through street to the north, Edgemore, and use it with such vigour that few stop at the one stop sign and many barely hesitate at an irregular dangerous corner.
All this comes with no thanks to politicians and traffic engineers who don't live there. And residents of a dozen or so houses on Berry as it ended in a dead-end street. So thousands of people daily are inconvenienced by NIMBYism running wild, and councillors who don't give a damn.
Toronto is nearly 250 square miles, dotted with similar problems left behind by selfish neighbours and gutless politicians.
And we wonder why our traffic is a mess.
Perhaps if a few more cops actually helped traffic instead of manning cash-register speed traps, it would be better. Actually when I see a speed trap in the usual cunning locations, I wonder why the cops instead of punishing us don't hand out medals to anyone who actually manages to get close to the speed limit on a major Toronto street.