Toronto used to be a city of visionaries. Leaders who sought big solutions to big problems. Now, Toronto has become the Pontiac Aztek of municipalities, with decisions by committee that try to please everyone, yet properly serve no one.

Toronto’s city fathers believed that urban mobility would bring social benefits like expanding employment markets, and increasing available goods and services. They believed the Gardiner Expressway would solve bottlenecks plaguing the downtown core of the growing city in the early 1950s, and the planned Scarborough Expressway and Spadina Expressway would interconnect with Hwy 401, reducing traffic congestion. Instead, special interest groups have prevented any major roads from being built in Toronto since the early 1970s.

Now, urban planners strive to reduce car usage by promoting public transit. Mass transit solutions must allow residents (young, old, and mobility impaired) move freely to any location in the city in any weather condition. But it was too expensive (and politically difficult) to build the transit system to properly serve the city. Instead of actually building the transit system the city needs, local governments use a propaganda campaign to discourage Torontonians from driving. This is known as The War On The Car and it would have been a quick battle if the TTC wasn’t such a bad choice.

Toronto’s mass transit system let nearly 20 years pass between the opening the Bloor-Danforth line (1966, POP 2.1 million) and the Scarborough RT (1985, POP 3.4 million) and a further 17 years until the Sheppard line launched (2002, POP 4.7 million). Today, Toronto’s population of 6.3 million is terribly underserved by mass transit, yet drivers are painted as the bad guys for contributing to traffic. Yet this ignores the fact that the TTC is simply not a viable alternative to anyone outside of the downtown core.

The War On The Car is also an attack on the poor and the working class. MPs, MPPs, and Captains of Industry would never take The Better Way. Only the working class are expected to subject themselves to a commute on an overcrowded bus. The propaganda campaign tried to make it seem transit riders are doing their civic duty! Except that the wealthy are exempt. The truth is that road tolls and licensing fees that make commuting by car more expensive that commuting by transit only impact the working class. The rich can afford it.

Limiting travel by private car is an attack on personal freedom. Preventing an individual from travelling to any part of the city on properly maintained expressways is like a blocked artery in the circulatory system of the city. The traffic congestion the grips Toronto each morning and afternoon is not the fault of the motorist. Poor urban planning is to blame for that big city problems. Many motorists would gladly leave their cars at home if the transit system provided a convenient, cost-effective alternative.

Cars and car culture have become the scapegoat for governments that lack the political will or vision to invest in a public transit alternatives. In this war, the car and driver are the victim.

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