Flushing Toronto's Traffic Congestion With Gusto | cityscape | Torontoist



Flushing Toronto’s Traffic Congestion With Gusto

Movie mayor Bert Xanadu on ending traffic wars—the 1973 way.

It’s been said that the word “traffic” is derived from an Ancient Greek prefix meaning “unlanceable boil.”

As God is my witness, I will lance Toronto’s boil.

Man may have stopped going to the moon, but that shouldn’t mean that other forms of transportation, such as the automobile, should return to their pre-Edwardian speeds. As your Mayor, I would sooner take my inspiration from Steve McQueen than from NASA.

The City of Toronto, blessed with a bounty of roads, boulevards, avenues, curbs, parking cones, and reflective vests, nonetheless finds itself, in the Year of Our Lord 1973, in a state of traffic paralysis akin to the look on a middle-aged man’s face when presented with the statistical truth about his manhood.

Yonge Street: catatonic. Bloor Street: non-porous. Bay Street: implacable. University Avenue: don’t go there. Gardiner Expressway: pre-Cambrian.

God knows I’ve tried—with bullhorns, propaganda, and shaking my fist—to dissuade drivers from their pointless and ultimately dispiriting journeys from, say, the Fleet Street Accounting Numberdome to Ed’s Warehouse for a dinner of Tiki Pork ’n Peas, but to little avail.

Short of my declaring martial law, or deflating car tires, I have some startling traffic amelioration tools at my disposal. I’ve given you fair warning, and so here they are, effective immediately:

  • Cars will be towed, at random, and perhaps even from your driveway, to strike fear into the hearts of those whose jobs are not in the larger municipal interest. For example: spoor research; freelance husbandry; streetcar transfer law; drainspotting.
  • Traffic lights on major thoroughfares will be synchronized to my blood pressure through a series of inflatable cuffs and levers. If my blood pressure goes up, lights go red—so don’t piss me off, or by the time you get home, your dinner cabbage and your marriage will have wilted.
  • Though a stubborn and self-centred beast, the Canada Goose can be trained, quite effectively, to empty its bowels on a specific target, from a great height and with terrifying precision. Such as, for example, on a beige Ford Pinto, license plate number X6-790, or on a Lamborghini Urraco, license plate number D5-662, when so directed by me.
  • No left turns. No right turns.
  • Toronto police officers will be given enhanced powers of search, seizure, de-registration, gasoline drainage, upholstery slashing, trunk emptying, driver’s license photo mocking and, well, anything they wish to do to drivers violating even the spirit of the Highway Traffic Act—even if such violations are merely hinted at by a driver through eyebrow raising.
  • Drivers must now interpret every yield sign as applying to all of their actions as a driver throughout the day, even when not in the car.

I’ll get you where you want to go, faster, even if you don’t want to go there right now.

Bert Xanadu is Toronto’s movie mayor circa 1973.