A City of Toronto initiative to improve transit commutes has some residents up in arms as they worry about the impact it could have on drivers and traffic levels.
RapidTO, officially endorsed by council on Wednesday, will bring new transit solutions to the 20 streets that are the most-used by TTC riders, and thus the most in need of faster and more reliable service.
These “priority roadways” include College, Dundas, Queen, King, Bathurst, Dufferin, Keele, Victoria Park and other arteries that could soon see surface-level upgrades ranging from HOV lanes and dedicated bus lanes to transit priority signals and “queue jump lanes.”
But, those who get around by car locally or frequently travel into the city from elsewhere feel this will just equate to more traffic headaches and fewer lanes for them.
Former mayoral candidate Anthony Furey is among those opposed to the project, saying that Olivia Chow and Toronto council plan to remove vehicle lanes from major roads, including Dufferin, Jane, Steeles, Finch and Lawrence.
The spin is that they are building new busways — but the truth behind the headlines is they will remove car lanes to do it. pic.twitter.com/9qqfikLgSG
— Anthony Furey (@anthonyfurey) February 7, 2024
“It’s being spun as ‘we’re creating new busways’… which sounds great, who can argue with more options for transit?” he said in a video on X yesterday, calling the move incredible.
“What’s actually going on is Olivia Chow and city council are planning to remove car lanes from major streets in Toronto… is now the time to remove lanes from major streets for vehicles and make them bus and bicycles only?”
The hundreds of comments the perspective has garnered in a day’s time are divisive, with some jumping in to point out that buses carry far more people, yet “get stuck in traffic behind, primarily, single occupancy vehicles.”
Naturally, the pro-congestion crew will be opposed to making it easier to get around the city.
— Jeff Slater 🍊 (@jslaterTO) February 8, 2024
It’s perfectly logical and happening too slowly, to be honest,” one person said.
Others accused Furey of being against anything that could benefit public transportation and the lives of those who use it — a demographic we can assume he is not a part of.
City like Toronto can only move forward with proper public transportation. Othersiwe people can just enjoy being stuck in traffic with no other alternative
— Linden (@AnnaNikolo) February 8, 2024
But, some gave examples of what they perceive to be failed attempts at transit priority corridors on major roads, like in Vaughan, where one local said “you sit in traffic while the bus lanes are empty, and if you’re lucky, you get to see an empty bus go by.”
Still others bemoaned the dedication of road space to bike lanes that are less utilized in the colder months. One cited The Danforth, where some drivers feel the addition of bike paths has caused more traffic and other issues — and tax dollars toward an infrastructure change that they feel “the city can’t afford” right now.
Yes that makes complete sense (sarcasm intended)!
If its truly an enhancement to transit I can live with sensible steps. Even though I have no viable transit options that are easy today.
But another bike lane type experiment….please spare us.
For all those ranting about…
— Khush Dadyburjor (@KhushDadyburjor) February 8, 2024
But as one of the most contentious topics in the city, any view on the car vs. cyclist and transit traffic debate is going to get some heated and often very extreme opinions when a middle ground is desperately needed.