"Tell him what he's won, Gardiner Westbound!"
June 21, 2012 1:54 PM   Subscribe

Toronto commute filter: How to escape from Chinatown to the Gardiner westbound?

I am in Toronto regularly for work and need advice on how best to get out of there. My years of living there were spent sans automobile, so I am an idiot when it come to looking for traffic patterns.

The usual departure time is 4:00 PM on weekdays, but it is occasionally later (5:00 PM or 7:00 PM), and the point of origin is the corner of College and Spadina. At 4:00 PM heading south on Spadina to Richmond, west on Richmond to Bathurst, south on Bathurst to Fort York Boulevard, following Fort York until it reaches the Lakeshore and then zooming west on the Lakeshore until it merges into the Gardiner near the Humber River works pretty well. At 5:00 and usually at 7:00 that is less than optimum -- it is frequently an hour or ninety minutes until I pass the Humber.

Anyone got any handy escape routes that they wish to share?
posted by ricochet biscuit to Travel & Transportation around Toronto, ON (6 answers total)
That's a pretty lousy time for that stretch. Would TTCing as far east as possible work for you? Traffic might be better there - and you'd avoid the Gardiner.
posted by backwards guitar at 3:20 PM on June 21, 2012

Yeah, I'd park at one of the far west TTC stations (Kipling, Islington, etc) and take the TTC from there. It'll suck being on the subway at 5, but you'll get west more quickly than driving.
posted by pised at 3:52 PM on June 21, 2012

Response by poster: No, it is driving, alas.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:30 PM on June 21, 2012

I'm afraid it's a "can't get there from here" kind of thing. Not only is High Park right in your way for any kind of a diagonal route, rush hour seems to kind of start at three along the Gardiner; and in Toronto there's two lanes - the one behind the streetcar and the one that's for bikes that cars park in. And the one you can't turn from, if there's a spare.

When my kid is in a summer camp on Dundas just south of Bloor, it takes me forty minutes from the East End on a good day, and most of that is the stretch west of Yonge.

But I take College most of the way - if you don't get stuck behind a streetcar, it does move well enough because of the bike lane/no parking/few left turns, and there's lots to look at so it's a pleasant drive. I'd also consider College-Dundas-Howard Park-Parkside-Queensway-Islington, but that's only because as long as I'm moving, I'm happy. If you can scootch up to Bloor (hard, because there are often no left turns onto it at that time) it moves pretty well going West anywhere past Landsdowne too. Windemere is a short and pleasant way down, but not as far West as you want to be to get on the Gardiner past the Humber without a jam. Sorry, it just sucks.

But south on Spadina is madness after 4. When mrgood worked at King and Spadina, he'd walk up to Queen if I was giving him a ride home. It could take me twenty minutes to get from camp along College and down Spadina to King and Spadina, let alone finding a good way to get back east. I get all irritable thinking of it, and I feel for you.
posted by peagood at 7:50 PM on June 21, 2012

When I was working near there and needed a car, I'd budget an hour to get to the Gardiner. I was seldom there any faster.
posted by scruss at 8:40 PM on June 21, 2012

I have recently had to drive that stretch, and it is horrible.

I think the answer is to park west of the downtown in the morning, either at one of the subway stations or near the High Park end of the College car and switch to TTC.
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 1:21 PM on June 22, 2012

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