Councillor Josh Matlow

It’s Time to Fight Toronto’s Gridlock

Gridlock is a serious problem for Toronto’s motorists, public transit users and cyclists. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recently noted that the Greater Toronto Area suffers from the longest work commute times in North America – costing our region’s economy an estimated $3.3 billion per year while negatively impacting on our quality of life.



The long-term solutions to this problem include building a more accessible, extensive and efficient public transportation system in addition to encouraging car-pooling and cycling. In the meantime, However, whether you are a motorist or a surface transit user, it is infuriating to see an individual pulled over on an arterial road during rush hour with their blinkers on to get a coffee or pick up their dry cleaning. Selfish acts like this cause bottlenecks, backing up traffic several blocks on major arterial roads.


Delivery trucks are also major offenders. They can block an entire lane for 10-15 minutes at a time. While I understand the economic necessity of being able to deliver goods to Toronto’s stores, their convenience does not trump the timely movement of everyone else. They have many other hours, outside of rush hours, to schedule their pick ups and drop offs.


Also, drivers along arterials often use bicycle lanes as a parking lane, forcing cyclists to dangerously merge into traffic. During rush hour this creates very unsafe conditions for cyclists. While currently not permitted, it is clear that current fines and levels of enforcement are not sufficient to deter such activities.


My motion seeks to improve traffic flow during the morning and afternoon rush hour periods by working with the Toronto Police Service to increasing fines to $500 and increase level of enforcement for individuals that obstruct other motorists, public transit users and cyclists. Please click here to read the motion.


I would like to thank the Chair of the Government Management Committee, Councillor Paul Ainslie, the Committee members and all of my colleagues on council for the positive responses this motion has received thus far. The motion will come before Government Management Committee on Wednesday October 12th. To show your support or register to make a written or oral deputation please email by 4:30 pm today (Tuesday, October 11th).


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