I was heading back from Mississauga. I had just attended a meeting of mayors from several large urban centres from the far reaches of Ontario. I was listening to Q107 and Kim Mitchell introduced the next song – “Take the Long Way Home” by Supertramp. He then said this is Toronto and “every way is the long way home”.
Funny. One of the big topics at the meeting was traffic congestion in the Greater Toronto Area and how frustration with traffic congestion is at an all time high.
So why should mayors outside the Toronto area care about their congestion woes? Like Thunder Bay, Kingston, Windsor, Barrie and London.
Let’s bring it closer to home. Why should Guelph care about traffic congestion in Toronto?
The provincial-wide economic impact from the loss of productivity might be one reason. We all breathe the same air – that might be another. Many Guelph residents commute to the Toronto area and lose hours stuck in traffic that could be spent with friends, family and community. So individual and community well being is impacted. We have businesses which do trade in the Toronto area or need to travel through it to get to customers, or suppliers to them. So their bottom line and competitiveness is impacted. There are likely many more reasons.
Finding innovative and pragmatic solutions to traffic congestion in Toronto, and how these solutions will be funded, can only help all of us. Sustainable transportation infrastructure challenges all municipalities. While some urban centres might not have the same level of congestion today, it does not mean they won’t see it in the future, especially if new sustainable transportation ideas are not forthcoming. We are certainly seeing congestion increase in Guelph as we grow. We have our own rush hour.
We need a funded solution to gridlock. We have an interest in the Greater Toronto Area getting it right. One of the great lines tossed out at the meeting was “if you don’t mind drowning in traffic then don’t have to pay for it”.
P.S. In case you were wondering, Toronto’s Mayor was not there.