Trillium Automobile Dealers Association

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Top priority for Rob Ford is transportation

Created on Friday, 05 November 2010

I'd like to congratulate Rob Ford, as well as the new and returning members of City Council, on the recent election.

The mayoral race, in particular, was closely fought between candidates who articulated vastly different views of Toronto and the future direction of the city.

One of Ford's campaign promises, and a key to his overwhelming victory, was his commitment to repeal the controversial vehicle registration tax imposed on Toronto car owners two years ago.

This tax unfairly penalizes vehicle owners with a Toronto address with an additional $60 per vehicle registration fee.

As far as I know, no such burden is imposed anywhere else in this province, or in any other Canadian jurisdiction.

The Toronto Automobile Dealers Association strongly lobbied against this form of discrimination when it was first proposed. We are pleased that Ford sees the inequity of the vehicle registration tax and promises to eliminate it.

The results of the election indicate that the overwhelming majority of residents outside the downtown wards strongly agree with Ford's platform, or at least strongly disagree with the direction of the previous council.

The day after the election, a headline in this newspaper read, "The war on cars is over." I don't think there ever was a declared war on motorists. However, this announcement reflects a refreshed attitude. For decades, the motoring public has been the focus of all the traffic and transit problems in the city.

In June, I wrote about how, after four decades, the lack of foresight and long-range planning at the municipal and provincial levels, together with the influence of special interest groups, has led to serious traffic gridlock throughout the GTA.

With the election of Rob Ford as mayor, now is the time to revisit these pressing transportation issues.

Mayor-elect Ford seems to be a pragmatist when it comes to automobiles and traffic congestion. Throughout the campaign, he floated the idea of reviewing bike lanes and streamlining the TTC. Clearly, restricting vehicle traffic to force people to use transit does not work.

Public transportation doesn't work for everyone, especially for those who commute from outside the downtown city core. People, goods and services require an efficient network of roads.

Here are some of ideas that will help maximize the efficiency of our existing roadway infrastructure. These are temporary solutions at best, but at least they are a beginning.

  1. Limit truck traffic on all major roadways in the GTA to non-rush-hour periods.
  2. Revisit the benefits of one-way traffic on major roads.
  3. Restrict bicycle traffic to non-major arteries.
  4. Allow the free movement of motor vehicles in current bicycle lanes from Dec. 1 to March 31 each year.
  5. Encourage ride-sharing and staggered work hours.
  6. Revisit trolley bus or electric bus alternatives when considering the impact of streetcar lines.
  7. Immediately extend the Allen Roadway to Bloor, at least, and finance construction with the electronic collection of tolls.
  8. Coordinate the sequences of traffic signals so that all traffic moving in the same direction, at a constant speed, avoids slowdowns and stoppages.
  9. License bicycles and cyclists and enforce Highway Traffic Act rules regarding road use.
    And, most important:
  10. Plan and budget for sustained investment for road and transit infrastructure.

This is a critical time in our city's history. Rob Ford and council members have an opportunity to make decisions that will effect generations of drivers and commuters in the GTA.

Let's accept the fact that Toronto is a megacity and a major world centre. Therefore, it's time to acknowledge that all forms of transportation must co-exist efficiently to optimize the use of roads for the benefit of all GTA residents.

Go back to Cohen Editorials 2010 »

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