The good news and bad news about the Ontario Line construction project

A Fairfax-based transportation company is donating more than 2,500 parking spaces to ease the problem caused by the three Ontario Line construction projects underway in Toronto, but drivers with fears of “car-mageddon” should know that access to the Queen Street subway station is largely unaffected.

Essex Transit Group, which specializes in implementing and managing transit projects in several cities, posted a Facebook campaign to its Toronto followers.

It highlights the parking and local traffic relief that will be available in the coming months.

Passengers who previously took the bus to Queen Street can expect to use city buses to and from subway stations. For existing streetcar or subway riders, parking will be free in the immediate areas.

From BNQT Transportation: “It is estimated that 3,049 parking spaces and 60,521 parking pass spaces will be available across more than 70,000 parking spaces within four miles of Queen Station in the stations at Queen, Bloor, Weston and Sheppard. Over 27,000 parking passes are also available for free at Queen Station. The free parking pass was created to allow for all transit riders to access the stations without concern of losing their hard earned parking passes.”

A free parking pass is valid for a one-year period.

The Queen Street subway station is located at Queen and Bloor streets.

This is yet another example of a local transit organization doing something to alleviate a traffic issue so people don’t have to drive a lot.

Meanwhile, commuters are advised to take the TTC (for vehicles), which is free during construction. The subway company says there will be a shuttle bus service to and from bus stops between Queen Street and Sheppard subway stations from Jan. 26 through Aug. 2.

A similar shuttle bus service will be offered between at Sheppard subway stations and Bloor/Danforth subway stations from July 1 through Aug. 31.

The Queen Street subway construction project began in April 2017. The work, overseen by Metrolinx, the public transit agency for the province of Ontario, aims to rebuild the station building and make more sidewalks, bike paths and cycle lanes.

While a shuttle bus service sounds helpful and local transit companies can make an impact, the work can certainly wreak havoc on traffic.

On the one hand, there are commuters who will give up their cars to take the bus. On the other, the ultimate result will likely be more crowded buses with longer waiting times than usual. However, it’s better than driving into the city center to miss the work, choosing to park in an unsafe area and stay home from work on weekdays.

Unfortunately, people make that kind of choice more frequently than you might realize, as these public transit alternatives help alleviate traffic but aren’t necessarily the optimal solution.

What’s even worse is when road and transit construction make drivers shift their commutes to avoid the area entirely. It’s the entire risk-avoidance strategy for short and long commutes and can be incredibly disruptive and dangerous. On some stretches of roads, it’s even impossible to get through on foot without running into someone else.

It’s important to be aware that while construction works can make traffic more difficult, it’s important to avoid trying to avoid the work altogether. And as long as a construction site can’t be avoided completely, it’s important to make smart decisions about whether to carry out a commute that’s not optimal.

Just remember, nothing will kill you faster than giving up your car and using public transit.

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