GRIDLOCK IN THE GTHA...MAYBE A RE-THOUGHT?

I have been driving the highways into Toronto from Hamilton for the past fifteen years and what is most evident is that traffic, or gridlock, has only gotten worse. One day it may take only 45 minutes, the return home could be 2 hours, for a 140 km round trip. Driving within Toronto is no better than on the highway and the frustrations of time spent behind the wheel and not moving prompts the brain to consider alternatives. I agree that public transit is the preferable and environmental approach but the quench for high-end, off-road capable, monster SUVs do not appear to be disappearing from the avenues and filling stations especially as petrol is less fashionable than status.

Discussion of gridlock is a plenty through all forms of government and the media. Metrolinx has been employed to attempt to solve the issue frustrating all that must commute. As Toronto (not to mention Mississauga) and it's neighbouring communities from Oshawa to the north and Hamilton in the south, road congestion is a serious problem and not aided by the continual construction (2 lanes closed from Park Lawn to Dufferin). Two weeks ago, my trip from Hamilton to Riverdale in Toronto (because of Gardner closure) took me from the 403 to Qew, to 403 to 401 to 427 to 407 to 404 (Don Valley Parkway) and this was about 1 1/4 hours (could have been shorter if I used 410 instead of 401). A navigation that must be thanked to 680 News. 

The solutions of Metrolinx is to raise 50 Billion Dollars via extra taxes to pay to improve public transit plans to move people through Toronto and it's immediate region (still not a Range Rover). Metrolinx has proposed to add 1% to the HST, 5 cents per litre of gas, a Business Parking Levy, Toll Lanes, Pay Parking at Railway Stations and extra levys on Development Charges. All such fees paid by the Ontario resident, contingent on the constituents and safe to think that most people of Ontario do not look forward to more taxes.

Computers were to make administration and the storage of files and banking, and most all aspects of commerce and life easier. Should corporations not start re-locating some of their operations out of the Downtown Toronto core to ease the mass influx and exodus from the streets and Union Station. I realize that there are desires by the Banks to be near Bay Street and the TSX but does the CIBC, RBC, TD and Bank of Montreal need almost 160,000 employees in Toronto? (Globe and Mail)  Could such services, with computer technology, not be moved to Oakville, Hamilton, Burlington, Whitby or Pickering and reduce the need to commute each day to the Toronto's Downtown?

Business and Bay Street aside, maybe there should be some discussion at Queen's Park for the Provincial government to re-locate. The average house price for a detached home in Toronto is over $950,000 and over $700,000 for a semi, certainly far more than the average Ontario resident can afford. One would think that the cost of moving Queen's Park to London, Oshawa, Kitchener, Windsor, Milton, Guelph, Hamilton or St. Catharines could be outweighed by selling that beautiful structure at College and Avenue Road to the highest bidder for a luxury Condo Conversion at probably, the most expensive piece of Real Estate in the country. Also, re-locate all of the furniture and furnishings of Queen's Park to embrace the legislatures history and significance. $5,000,000 for a 3000 square foot Robarts suite or $3,500,000 for a 2000 square foot Davis suite?

With over 60,000 Provincial Public Employees working in Toronto, many of these employees can be moved to cities with a less expensive real estate and cost of living index. There would be less of a need by the public and public employees congesting the congested. Moreover, the cost of housing all of the Provincially elected officials would be greatly reduced as a result. As one that embraces history, it is sometimes more prudent to reinvent a new history as a service to the people of this province.

Evidently there would be much protest to such an idea but it is worth considering. Furthermore, the South African example may be another option to the location, re-location of Queen's Park in our increasing age of gridlock. South Africa has 3 capitals, the Legislative Capital of Cape Town, the Executive Capital in Pretoria and the Judicial Capital in Bloemfontein. Re-locating the provincial capitals to other Ontario cities may also crate a greater understanding throughout the greater of the province concerning regional issues and differences and not Toronto centric as the rest of the province tends to perceive. Maybe Toronto retains a capital status through the Judicial, it  would probably be harder to solicit the Solicitors to move to Kingston, Cornwall or Cambridge. Would the Provincial Legislature not look nice on Hamilton's West Harbour, which would clean up the old Brownfields, on the passenger railway route and only an hour ride from the old legislature, not to mention its central location  in the Golden Horseshoe. London or Kitchener for the Executive Branch (administration)? The cost of housing and the fact that either of these cities are on major road and rail routes and not restricted by being situated on a lake and reducing the pathways into either city. Both cities are great university towns and Kitchener-Waterloo being one of Canada's more technically advanced regions and research centres.

I am certain that such an idea of re-locating the Provincial Government would be popular with many, it would also be a process fiercely protested by a few working in that circle just south of fashionable Yorkville. Such a move would certainly be bold and progressive and at least, express to the rest of Ontario's residents that there are more options than making mass investments into transit in one region and continuing to over congest an already over congested population and re-invest in other provincial cities in need of investment. I am further sure that over a short time, moving government would not detract from Toronto's image as New York is not the capital of New York State, nor Los Angeles of California or Vancouver of British Columbia. It just may reduce the traffic and ease the tax burden.

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Ryan Lundy

Ryan Lundy

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CENTURY 21 Miller Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage*
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