It’s easy to pass the buck in politics. If a problem is too hard or too costly to fix, sometimes the most politically expedient course of action is to blame another level of government.
There’s a problem in my neighbourhood of Willowdale in North York that for more than a decade has been the perfect example of this all too common phenomenon.
At the south end of my community, the world’s longest street, Yonge Street intersects with North America’s busiest highway, the 401. The results are predictably terrible. Long lines of traffic, both morning and night back up for miles as commuters from the 905 wait to ramp on to the 401.
City planners will tell you that traffic is like water, it finds every crack and crevasse to run in to. And so, drivers, attempting to shave time of their commute speed down residential side-streets to avoid the lines. A reality that families living near the Yonge-401 Ramp know all too well and in one tragic case resulted in the death of a child.
My community has been asking their elected leaders to fix this problem for over a decade. To re-design the interchange and ease the congestion from a poorly designed ramp system. So, why hasn’t anything been done?
The frank answer is: that no one wanted to solve it. Highway 401 is a provincial highway, so the City of Toronto claimed the interchange was the province’s responsibility. But Yonge Street is a municipal road, so the provincial government under the Wynne Liberals passed the buck to the City.
For 15 years nothing was done. That needs to change. Jurisdictions shouldn’t get in the way of solutions that people in our communities need. This provincial government believes that outcomes matter. It’s the retail, people-first politics embodied by Premier Ford.
From my first day in office I’ve worked closely with the Ministry of Transportation to move the project forward, to bring the Province and City together to fix this long standing and dangerous problem.
Ontarians don’t care how it gets done, or who gets it done. They count on their elected officials to get the job done for them. That’s exactly what I intend to do.
- Stan Cho