City’s traffic rating no surprise to commuters

SEE VIDEO http://www.ottawasun.com/2012/07/11/citys-traffic-rating-no-surprise-to-commuters

Commuters aren’t surprised to hear Ottawa is on the map for high levels of traffic congestion.

 

“For a city of a million people, to get across it at certain times of day, it’s just crazy. It’s not even a super-huge city,” said Garret Smits, 25.

Smits appraises real estate and has racked up countless hours on the road.

He lives downtown and usually heads to Kanata or Orléans each morning.

“On my way out, I have no traffic but the other side of the highway, it’s just lined all the way out to the suburbs,” he said.

A congestion index report released on Tuesday by GPS manufacturer TomTom measures traffic in 26 major North American cities, based on anonymous data from drivers.

Ottawa ranked 10th overall, finishing third in Canada, behind Vancouver and Toronto.

“To me, there should be a big difference between Ottawa and Toronto, and there isn’t,” said Serge Lafontaine, who travels to Ottawa from Cornwall for baseball a few times every week.

Smits agrees.

“It’s also not surprising, because we don’t have any effective light rail or subway, or anything like that, comparable to the GO Train,” said Smits.

He wants to see another lane leading to Orléans.

“Right after the (Hwy. 417/Hwy. 174) split, I mean, you always get stuck there, and you’re stuck for a long time,” Smits said.

Rachel Decoste believes more spots at the Park-N-Rides will alleviate traffic.

The Place D’Orleans lot is full before 7 a.m., she said.

“It seems like it would be a no-brainer to invest in additional parking to serve that community,” said Decoste.

“If the city built parking towers at that overflowing Park-N-Ride, ridership in the area would double or triple.”

She calls the planning a “lack of vision from City Hall. They would rather ticket cars which are double-parked in the Park-N-Ride than address the root problem.”

While a top city official questioned the integrity of the GPS data, the findings are legitimate, said the head of congestion research for TomTom.

“Unlike other reports, the TomTom congestion index is based purely on actual speed measurements from vehicles,” said Nick Cohn.

“There is no synthetic, estimated or modeled information used.”

That means data is obtained “almost exclusively from passenger vehicles, so it reflects what drivers actually experience on the road network,” said Cohn.

For Ottawa, the company looked at a road network of 378 km.

More specific details on routes will be added into future reports.

kelly.roche@sunmedia.ca

@ottawasunkroche

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