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Poorly-maintained roads affect us all. They make us late, cause delivery delays, contribute to congestion and, most importantly, can cause damage to our vehicles or endanger us. Each year, CAA invites Ontario drivers, cyclists, transit riders and pedestrians to vote in the CAA Worst Roads campaign. This tells us all which roads need improvement. Many of the complaints center around potholes, congestion, poor road signs, lack of good cycling infrastructure, and other safety concerns. The feedback hopes to influence change by starting a dialogue with the government to help pave the way for safer roads across Ontario. Let’s take a look at the top 10 worst roads in Ontario for 2022.

CAA Worst Road Campaign

Nominations for the 2022 Worst Roads Campaign closed on April 19th, 2022.  In Ontario, 182 municipalities nominate roads in their communities. A breakdown of respondents shows that drivers sent in most of the votes, with cyclists and pedestrians accounting for about a quarter of the total votes. The purpose of voting for Ontario’s Worst Roads helps to shine the spotlight on where more work is needed in Ontario. Voters share their primary reasons for selecting a road, with 80% citing potholes, followed by poor road maintenance (71%). Thirdly, no or poor cycling infrastructure (29%.) Once the cut-off date is reached, the Ontario Road Builders’ Association (ORBA) verifies and compiles a list of the top 10 Worst Roads in Ontario, along with the top five Worst Roads in regions across the province.

The survey names the 10 worst roads, and Barton Street East first made the list in 2019 when it ranked fifth. In 2021, it was in third place. Its top position for 2022 is due to potholes and severe “alligator” cracking in the pavement. CAA also lists the worst roads in eight regions, and Barton Street East has been named the worst in Hamilton for three years straight!

CAA’s Worst Roads in Ontario list for 2022

1. Barton Street East, Hamilton
2. Eglinton Avenue West, Toronto
3. Barker Street, Prince Edward County
4. County Road 49, Prince Edward County
5. Carling Avenue, Ottawa
6. Eglinton Avenue East, Toronto
7. Lake Shore Boulevard East, Toronto
8. Finch Avenue West, Toronto
9. Bronson Avenue, Ottawa
10. Queen Street, Kingston

CAA also compiled a list of the top five roads in regions across the province. View the results here.

Bryan Hocking, CEO of ORBA stated in an interview with the CBC that the list is an accurate reflection of the current state of our roads. “This year’s Worst Roads campaign once again solidified the fact that although much work has been done across the province to maintain and repair Ontario’s roads, greater investment is needed to tackle the staggering municipal infrastructure deficit in Ontario.” He goes on to say, “Building and maintaining infrastructure is a critical part of Ontario’s long-term economic plan, and even more important to our economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. We must begin to build the necessary infrastructure today so we can be ready to meet the challenges of tomorrow.”

Toronto’s Roads make up almost half of the Worst Roads list

This year, four out of 10 of the province’s Worst Roads in Ontario for 2022 list are in Toronto. They are:

  1. Eglinton Avenue West
  2. Eglinton Avenue East
  3. Lake Shore Boulevard East
  4. Finch Avenue West

This is double the number of roads in Toronto that appeared on the provincial list in 2021. Eglinton Avenue East claimed the top spot in 2019, and both Eglinton East and West cracked the top 10 list in 2021 after the campaign took a pandemic year off in 2020. Eglinton Avenue has been plagued by construction for nearly a decade due to the Eglinton Crosstown LRT project. The main section of the LRT is set to be completed by the end of 2022.

“There are different reasons why we see different roads voted on and making it to the top 10,” says Teresa Di Felice, Assistant VP at CAA. “When it comes to Eglinton Avenue West and East, we know there are issues and challenges related to one of the biggest transit infrastructure projects in the country.”

Proof that the CAA’s Worst Roads in Ontario campaign works

The number one spot in 2021, Victoria Road in Prince Edward County, completely dropped off the list this year. Teresa Di Felice says it is a testament to the impact the campaign can have. “We know the campaign works. People vote in the annual CAA Worst Roads Campaign because it gives Ontarians a platform to continue putting pressure on various levels of government to understand what roads they believe are in urgent need of repair.” She further asserts, “The campaign has been able to demonstrate that decision-makers are paying attention to the results, which has prompted municipal officials to move up infrastructure projects in their communities.” Finally, Ms. Di Felice also told CityNews in April that said past campaigns resulted in parts of Dufferin Street in Toronto to be moved up and fixed sooner than scheduled.

“These campaign success stories are because governments are prioritizing infrastructure through multi-year capital investments,” said Ms. Di Felice. “The results this year show us that Ontarians are relentless in using the campaign to advocate for roads they believe are in urgent need of repair, which is why we have seen Barton Street bubble up to the top spot and roads like Eglinton Avenue continue to garner attention.”

Since 2003, CAA’s annual Worst Roads in Ontario campaign has influenced change. As a result, re-paving and repair work has been done on many of the roads on Ontario’s Worst Roads list, with more to come. Hopefully we will see some improvement on next year’s list!

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