I have the driving and city navigational skills of a cabbie. No really, I do. I know this because (1) I once asked a cab driver what his tricks were to getting to destinations faster (and soaked that convo for all I could) and (2) some weeks I drive as much as one of them does. My odometer reading was outrageously high last year considering I only twice left the city (note to self – get out of the city more times in 2015)
A busy Toronto Realtor’s office is their vehicle during the peak markets. Meals are eaten, offers are prepared, negotiation is exchanged via blue-toothed calls and loud, adrenaline pumping “I-will-win-this-offer-for-my-clients” music is fed through the speakers. In my car there is built-in navigation not because I don’t know where I’m going but because I want to see where the next one-way street option is. There is a backup camera not because I can’t parallel park on my own but because I need to know within an inch of being whether I can squeeze into that spot nearest to the place I’m about to show. My daily ride takes me to showings, to listing appointments, to client meetings, to staging consultations, to the office, to very glamorous supply pick ups at Home Depot and so forth.
And so, with all this extreme skill, I offer Toronto driving secrets and special tricks to help you get HOME faster. The below data is highly scientific. Absolutely all of it is highly credible, guaranteed to work and without fault since I am a road, urban planning and Toronto transportation expert (jokes aside, have some fun with this, ok?)
The first of the Toronto driving secrets is that it is ALL about timing. Avoid travel between 8:00-9:00AM like the plague. Exercise caution about venturing anywhere near the financial core where 400 people cross the sidewalk at every light or downtown neighbourhoods with social sidewalk restaurant scenes between 11:30AM-1:00PM. The same rule applies for 3:30-4:30PM on the major highways or school’s out areas and 5:00-6:00PM on city streets.
So basically only travel between 10:00 and 11:00AM, 1:00 and 3:00PM and after 7PM…which is nearly impossible so skip all this and refer to “ROUTE”
The second of the Toronto driving secrets is that route is everything. Here are some of my best secret routes:
- The Bayview Extension rules over any travel on the Don Valley Parkway and Yonge Street. (unless it is 9 o’clock at night on a Tuesday non-professional-sports-game day.)
- Take Dupont Avenue or Harbord Street (never Bloor Street) when you’re trying to get through the Jarvis St and Avenue Rd fun (unless of course you prefer to watch the scene of the valet parking at Holt Renfrew and the backlog that it causes in the right lanes)
- If you’re travelling eastbound, travel on Lakeshore Ave in the furthest south lane, away from any onramps / If you’re travelling westbound, travel on Lakeshore Ave in the furthest north lane, away from slowdown right turns or onramps
- Stay away from streetcar streets (Queen, Dundas, King, Gerrard, College) PERIOD mid day. Especially King. And Queen. And Dundas.
- Good gracious, do not ever consider that detour through Yonge and Dundas square.
- Never, ever take the Gardiner Expressway or Lakeshore Ave when there’s a game on at the Rogers Centre or Air Canada Centre.
- Yes to South Kingsway. No to Parkside Drive.
- Say yes to Jarvis Street (but never ever ride in the furthest left lane since inevitably the guy in front of you is going to stop for 5 minutes in an attempt to turn left)
- Say no to travel on Spadina Ave anywhere near Lakeshore. Oh you live in City Place? Yup, get a bike.
- Stay away from Eglinton Ave at all cost from now until, err um, 2020? “Get across town 60% faster with the Eglinton Crosstown” they advertise. Just not in this decade.
- Take advantage of city streets that enforce 3:30-6:00PM no stopping (an extra lane…until some bozo decides to stick on his four-ways and…stop.)
The third of the Toronto driving secrets is that which lane you are in and forecasting when to move out of it saves hours in your life:
- Follow the cabbies but recognize that if you’re behind one they could stop at ANY moment
- Always be looking 100m ahead of you
- See a car or van with 4-way flashers on? He’s about to stop so get out from behind him
- Get out from behind the Dodge minivan with the 5 kids distracting the driver within it
- Get out from behind the streetcar that will stop at every light
- There’s a semi tractor trailer first in line at the light? Get in the other lane. By the time he shifts gears you have ample time to get around him.
- Follow the opposite information that the 401 says is happening in the Collectors vs the Express. The Express is moving very slowly but the collector is moving normally? Get in the Express.
- When in rush hour, stay in the middle lane of DVP. Why? The people who want to move fast are in the left and the mergers in are coming in on the far right. Trust me – stay in the middle.
The fourth and final of the Toronto driving secrets I share is that feeding your soul in your car does wonders for you getting places faster. I always find that the more comfortable I am, the quicker the ride is:
- Get yourself set up with some good tunes. I stream the Songza app through my bluetooth connection. You might try satellite radio or tune in to a radio station you like.
- Get a coffee or a cold drink and have it right beside you. Maybe some snacks too?
- Sunglasses in the winter, a snow shovel in the back seat in the winter. Take the anxiety away from possible weather woes on your route
- Check your emails and calls before you put the car out of park so there’s less FOMO
**Karyn lives, plays and sells real estate in Toronto’s downtown central core, midtown and downtown west and east sides so data above reflects these traffic patterns.
**To watch these amazing driving skills in person simply call Karyn and arrange to buy or sell property with her 🙂
**Please drive safely, xo