‘Unbearable’ Scarborough streets vie for Ontario’s Worst Road title

With potholes, gridlock, and rising gas prices taking the fun out of hitting the open road these days, motorists can’t seem to catch a break.

At least the CAA’s (Canadian Automobile Association) annual Worst Roads survey helps drivers dodge the potholes. This year’s list, set to be released at the end of the month, asks drivers across Ontario to vote for the worst roads in the province, including the GTA, on their website.

According to CAA spokeswoman Faye Lyons, the last survey, conducted in 2010, collected 20 of Ontario’s worst roads. Eight of those roads named were in the GTA.

“In Toronto, we’ve seen Steeles as a repeat offender on the list,” she said. “We’ve also seen Dufferin and Eglinton, to name a few.”

There’s a certain spot on Kingston, between Birchmount Road and Victoria Park Avenue, which should be blown up

— Stewart Clubley

Scarborough roads aren’t quite out of the clear, according to Lyons, as Kingston Road and Lawrence Avenue East made appearances on the 2010 survey. TTC bus driver Stewart Clubley has experience on both.

“There’s a certain spot on Kingston, between Birchmount Road and Victoria Park Avenue, which should be blown up,” he said. “You literally have to stay in the middle lane. If you’re driving in the right-hand lane closest to the curb, it’s unbearable.”

Clubley, who has been part of the TTC’s Birchmount division for the past 11 years, regularly serves routes along Kingston Road, in addition to Don Mills Road, Victoria Park, and Warden Avenues.

The GTA’s eight worst roads, as of 2010:

  1. Lawrence Avenue
  2. Finch Avenue
  3. Dufferin Street
  4. Eglinton Avenue West
  5. Steeles Avenue
  6. Kingston Road
  7. Bayview Avenue
  8. St. Clair Avenue

Source: caasco.com/community/worst-roads/

“I’ve had a few riders come up and thank me for driving in the centre lane on Kingston,” he said. “Buses aren’t meant to take large holes. When they go over potholes, it sounds like a gun has gone off. Going over bumps, the bus not only moves up and down, but also twists from side to side.”

Lyons, who has been with the CAA for 10 years, cites numerous issues that make Ontario’s Worst Roads unpopular with drivers.

“Weather and congestion are factors that can cause damage to roads,” she said. “Most of them see cracked pavement, potholes, and receive patchwork rather than resurfacing.”

Like Lyons, Clubley says patchwork is what earns some of Ontario’s worst roads a spot on the CAA’s list.

“When crews dig holes and fill them back in, they can’t make them perfectly level again,” he said. “They refill the holes rather paving over them, making the road dip down or crest up a little bit, which means a pretty bumpy ride.”

For this year’s survey, the CAA is asking motorists to name 10 roads. Scarborough’s contenders include Lawrence Avenue East, Kingston Road, Finch Avenue East and Birchmount Road.

Voting is open on the CAA’s website until April 24.