Friday, October 4, 2013

Heavy Traffic is Heavier

Rush hour traffic is ridiculous, I know. It is not a new form of annoyance, but it seems that it has reached a new form of ridiculous around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). I am not a driver. I am, however, a transit rider and pedestrian. Okay, I guess it does not matter whether I am a driver or a transit rider. In the end, traffic affects everyone.

I was taking the bus home the other day and instead of the usual 1 hour bus ride during rush hour, I had a 2 and a half hour bus ride home. Traffic was slow to the point that the bus driver turned off the bus, got out of his seat, and announced to all the passengers that it would be quicker to walk home. A few of the passengers hopped off the bus and proceeded to walk along the sideways in the direction the bus was headed. When traffic started to move and the bus was finally running at [what I estimate was] 30 km/h, it was clear that the people who hopped off the bus already reached their desired bus stops before the bus, because we only passed by one of the people who left the bus.

Can you imagine all the gasoline people collectively use while stuck in traffic? That is a lot of money being wasted, and I am sure the drivers are not happy about the gas lost to idling in traffic. I wonder why the traffic is even worse now. Are the roads that badly designed or are there just more vehicles on the streets now than ten years ago? Maybe traffic is being more congested by all the blocked lanes due to recent construction going on around the main roads, or maybe it is a bit of everything. Today's roads definitely need frequent maintenance--they seem to be falling apart every season! It is no surprise that they get beaten up quickly though. They are exposed to more extreme weather like heavy precipitation these days and there are more vehicles using them. Five years ago, I would have considered the solution of convincing people to take public transit instead of driving, but it seems that would not help today. Getting people to use public transit instead of their cars to save road space makes sense, but it does not make sense to get people to use public transit instead of their cars when public transit is overcrowded itself.

Am I asking for more roads? No. There is enough habitat loss around the GTA, and we do not need more roads that may require more money poured into to maintain. Am I asking for more public transit lines? Maybe. It would help, but I can not see where the money to do that will come from. Honestly, I am not asking for anything. I wanted to share my observations regarding traffic and how it has affected me.

What are your experiences with the heavy rush hour traffic around the GTA these days?

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