Drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians alike can now nominate and vote for the worst road in Ontario.
Voting for the Canadian Automobile Association’s (CAA) Worst Road Campaign opened Tuesday morning at 9 a.m.
The campaign offers residents the chance to put a spotlight on roads in their communities that are in notably poor condition. They can vote on infrastructure issues ranging from congestion, potholes, poor road signs, pedestrian access, cycling infrastructure and the timing of traffic lights, among others.
“The campaign is about giving people a voice to talk about the roads and infrastructure in their communities that they are concerned about and to give decision makers a snap shot on what roads residents think need work,” assistant vice-president of government and community relations with the CAA, Teresa Di Felice, told CTV News Toronto.
Participants can place votes every day, Di Felice said, and multiple roads can be voted for per session.
The voting period will remain open until April 21.
Once the votes are in, Di Felice said the CAA takes a number of steps before declaring the province’s worst road.
“We make sure the website’s input is accurate, we work with a partner to analyze the roads and get advice on what repairs are needed,” Di Felice said. “We communicate with the municipalities and talk to them about the roads, what projects are needed, and the issues behind the projects.”
On May 30, the results will be revealed and Ontario’s worst roads will be named. Both province-wide and regional results are released.
“Then, our advocacy kicks in,” Di Felice said. “We advocate with senior levels of government to secure infrastructure funding.”
In 2022, Barton Street East in Hamilton was named Ontario’s worst road, prompting the city to announce a multi-phase reconstruction of the “beleaguered” route, the CAA said in a release.
Other roads, such as Plank Road in Sarnia, Victoria Road in Prince Edward County, Lauzon Parkway in Windsor, and Bell Farm Road in Barrie, have also undergone “significant” repairs after appearing on the list, the association noted.
“The campaign has demonstrated that decision-makers are paying attention to the results, which has prompted municipal officials to move up infrastructure projects in their communities,” Di Felice said.
Repairs are needed province-wide, the CAA said. In a recent survey conducted by the association, 85 per cent of respondents said they were concerned about the state of Ontario’s roads and over half (59 per cent) said that Ontario’s roads have gotten worse over time. Those surveyed identified the main improvements needed on their roadways as potholes (84 per cent) and a lack of pedestrian access (70 per cent).
Di Felice said she ultimately hopes the campaign continues to encourage repairs to areas of the province that need them and bring infrastructure to the forefront of residents’ and policymakers’ minds.
“Bad roads lead to unsafe situations, can damage vehicles, and you end up paying twice – your taxes and at the mechanics – as a result,” Di Felice said.
“Now more than ever, as we head into uncertain economic times, bringing attention to the importance of safe infrastructure is heightening.”