Earlier in the summer, the results of a poll that asked drivers in 20 major cities about their commute cast Toronto in a less than favourable light.
Toronto ranked high, behind only Johannesburg and tied for second with Moscow in the “commuter pain” survey conducted by IBM.
Yes, us Torontonians do love to complain about traffic congestion. Just a couple weeks ago I was crawling along Bloor St. between Yonge and Avenue for what felt like an hour because of the insane, seemingly endless construction that clogs up Bloor every summer.
But I digress, at least I know it could be a lot worse (via NPR):
“A massive traffic jam in northern China that stretches for dozens of miles and hit its 10-day mark on Tuesday stems from road construction in Beijing that won’t be finished until next month.”
I don’t know about you, but this beats out any commuter horror story I’ve ever heard.
Apparently villagers in the areas surrounding Beijing are making a killing selling bottled water and packaged lunches to the stranded commuters who have been stuck in their cars for days. The drivers are in turn, killing time by playing board games, going for walks and chatting with others who are caught up in this mess, which is unusual even by China traffic standards.
The latest news on this is that the jam is breaking up and traffic is beginning to move normally again, but this certainly raises some questions about possible solutions to congestion in China and beyond.
For instance, for the surrounding inner and outer suburbs of Toronto the commute to downtown is already quite bad and with the number of new condo and housing developments in those areas, it could easily worsen in the next few years.
So what should city planners do about all this commuter pain? Is mass transit the answer? Perhaps more people will find jobs within the suburbs as office and retail space grows in places like Mississauga and Brampton?
Let’s hope someone comes up with an answer soon because a 10 day long traffic jam on the QEW or 401 sounds like a less than ideal start to the work week.
Here’s a quick look at the madness in Beijing (sorry if the language barrier is an issue):