In his weekly Grid column, Ed Keenan notes the Ford tendency to fantasize about magical solutions to Toronto’s traffic-congestion problem — multi-level tunnels with premium access, privately funded subways every other block — and thereby divert focus away from practical, realistic solutions that could be implemented right now.
Road tolls, for instance. There’s a compelling argument for making them part of Toronto’s transportation policy, part of which is based on the invisible-hand laissez-faire forces so beloved by the Tim-Hortons-drinking, car-driving, Ford-voting, downtown-elite-gay-vegetarian-cyclist-hating free-marketeers: access to the roads is in high demand, so why not let the market set the price? If it’s too high, fewer people will drive and congestion will be eased. Supply and demand. Problem solved.
Plus the raft of studies demonstrating that widening roads (which, coincidentally, often means removing bike lanes) will only make gridlock worse as more cars jump into the fray.
A no-brainer, one would think. And yet anyone with an attention span of more than half a second should remember what happened in 2003, when John Tory tried to use them as a wedge issue against David Miller. They were political kryptonite back then, and if there’s any evidence that they’ve become more palatable since then, I haven’t seen it.
We know they’re a non-starter with Ford Nation. But is it too much to hope that other Toronto voters might have acquired some maturity since then?