June 12, 2013
Toronto City Council voted recently to spend upwards of eleven million dollars on traffic light synchronization in the city.
Wait a minute…
When I went to university – yes, there were cars then – we (‘we’ because we carpooled, dontcha know…) knew instantly when the traffic light computer was down because it took way longer to get to U of T from the Bathurst-Lawrence area where I and my fellow carpoolers lived.
I also once met the computer salesperson who had just had his territory changed so he missed out on the huge commission from the sale of new traffic computer equipment to the city.
So, we had traffic light synchronization computers way back then.
OK, so Toronto grew a little.
I guess they failed to upgrade the system to keep pace with that growth.
One councillor, Josh Matlow, noted that the growth itself is in fact directly affecting traffic patterns – while all those new condos (which we seem to need so desperately despite reports that 70% of the ones we have are empty) are being built, you’ll often see one or more lanes of allegedly public roadway closed off to enable the construction vehicles, concrete and gravel trucks, etc., easier access to the site, helping fatten the very private purses of the builders.
A pox on all of them, sez I.
Meanwhile, sure – let’s try to get traffic moving more smoothly with better traffic light synchronization.
I’m sure we all have our favourite bad intersections which should be addressed first: me, I’d vote for Leslie and York Mills and Bayview and Sheppard among the worst I encounter regularly.
Of course, if Toronto would simply follow the lead of more advanced cities – i.e., just about every city in the world except in North America, although Waterloo is not far away – and convert as many of our intersections to roundabouts as soon as possible, we wouldn’t even need traffic lights, let alone traffic light synchronization.
Hey – I can dream, can’t I?
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