Ottawa traffic ranks 15th in North America

Rush hour traffic in Ottawa isn’t as bad as Montreal but it’s gotten better — on paper, anyway.

Congestion in the nation’s capital ranks 15th worst in North America, according to an annual report from GPS manufacturer TomTom.

That’s an improvement over last year, when Ottawa came in 10th.

But are frustrated drivers really noticing it?

The widening of Hwy. 417 for light rail started six months ago and ever since, the city posts a plethora of ramp closures, detours, and/or lane reductions each week.

With the consistent stream of red brake lights on the Queensway looking more and more like Toronto’s stretch of Hwy. 401, there seems to be no end for miserable commuters — in Orléans, especially — during the work week.

In one word, the westbound Hwy. 174 to downtown trek is “horrific,” said Nik Panter.

Steve Ethier’s beef, though, is way south, at Hunt Club Rd. and Prince of Wales Dr.

City-wide, motorists are delayed by 43 minutes per hour, the survey finds, noting those with a 30-minute commute see a 96-hour delay annually.

The index, using data from millions of GPS users, measured congestion in the second quarter of 2013, pitting peak hours against uncongested travel periods. Deputy city manager Nancy Schepers questioned the methodology of the study last year and said she maintains that position.

“The city does acknowledge congestion as a challenge,” Schepers wrote in an e-mail, adding the city’s undertaking “an unprecedented amount of construction in preparation for the city’s most ambitious transit project in its history, the Confederation Line, to help solve the issues.”

The report concludes Monday yielded the best commute, while Tuesday morning and Thursday evening remained the most taxing.

“Generally, traffic flows reasonably well across the city with the bulk of delays in the morning and afternoon peak periods. This is consistent with most major cities,” said Schepers.

Vancouver beat out all big cities, topping the list this year, meaning gridlock is worse there than in Los Angeles and New York.

Overall, Bytown ranked fourth in Canada, behind Vancouver, Toronto (seventh), and Montreal (10th).

Ottawa also ranked 15th in 2011.

The busiest day so far in 2013, believe it or not, wasn’t a glacial February evening.

Friday, June 28 was the day after schools closed for the summer, kicking off the Canada Day long weekend and its ensuing traffic jams.

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