On Thursday evening, Junkii and I had to get out to Kanata to meet a friend at 6:30. Sounds simple enough – Kanata is only about 15 minutes from downtown in off-peak hours – but this was rush hour, so as soon as we hit the highway (i.e. as soon as we left our driveway) we were stuck in traffic, going about 15km/h.
We gave ourselves more than an hour to get to our destination, but when we rounded the on-ramp, we knew that might not be enough time.
You see, in this city, there’s just one road people use to get out of downtown: our over-burdened Queensway. And every single person who drives to work – the disturbing lack of carpoolers does make it feel like every person has his or her own car – piles onto the Queensway at 4:30 and stays there for two hours. Or at least it seems that way whenever we need to get anywhere at that time of day.
Thankfully, we don’t have to do this very often; a few times a year at most – when we leave town on an after-work trip to Toronto, for example. Our house is a mere 20-minute walk from my workplace. Wouldn’t have it any other way.
In the end, we made it to our meeting on time, but neither of us could fathom doing this every day. And yet, people do. The entire population of the city’s suburbs, stuck in traffic for 1-2 hours every morning and every afternoon.
We have to question their commitment to the suburbanite lifestyle – at least the ones that actually have to commute to a physical, far-away office. Seems like a real waste of life for a little extra yard space. If they would just band together to lobby city council for another East-West highway to take the load off the Queensway, they would likely be very successful in that effort…but who has the time?