Tighten those hubcaps, drivers! The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) has released its 2022 list of Ontario’s worst roads, and there are a number of pot-hole-infested hot spots not far from cottage country.
Topping this year’s list is Hamilton’s Barton Street East. Residents nominated the road, which runs east-to-west through the northern section of the city, for its large potholes and severe cracking that causes the pavement to resemble alligator skin.
“Barton Street East has been on the list before,” says Teresa Di Felice, assistant vice president of government and community relations at CAA. “With no funding announcements being made and no immediate fixes to the problem, it went from fifth place in 2019 to third place in 2021 and now first place in 2022. As time goes on, the infrastructure gets worse.”
CAA’s Worst Roads campaign is run annually and is designed to bring critical road infrastructure to the attention of government officials. The goal is to make the roads safer, Di Felice says. Poor road conditions contribute to accidents. In the case of potholes, people often try to swerve around them, veering into other lanes, or damage their vehicles by hitting one.
Most roads on CAA’s list are overseen by municipalities, but Di Felice says the list is meant to attract the attention of all levels of government. Even if a road falls under municipal jurisdiction, it’s often the provincial and federal governments that can create funding programs for municipalities in need of road repairs.
Di Felice recalls the mayor of Timmins encouraging residents to vote in the Worst Road campaign because he needed funding to tackle critical road infrastructure within the city and wanted to highlight the project’s necessity to senior levels of government.
Residents can nominate a road through CAA’s website, detailing why it’s the worst road in Ontario. This can include issues such as traffic, poor signage, lack of sidewalks or bike lanes, or plain old potholes. The nominations are then voted on, whittling down the list.
Once CAA has a working list, the organization partners with the Ontario Road Builders’ Association, an advocacy group devoted to improving transportation infrastructure in Ontario, to assess whether the roads are as bad as residents’ say they are.
Last year, a Prince Edward County resident put signboards up along Victoria Road, encouraging people to vote for the road through CAA’s website. At the time, Victoria Road was a main thruway for tourists, riddling the road with potholes and cracks.
“[Victoria Road] actually ended up getting so many votes that it climbed to the top of the list,” Di Felice says. It has since managed to remove itself from 2022’s list.
Besides listing the top 10 worst roads in Ontario, CAA also uses its voting system to create a regional list, highlighting the worst roads in eight regions across the province. This year’s regional list includes a number of spots in cottage country, such as Laclie Street in Orillia, Barker Street in Prince Edward County, and Algonquin Boulevard East in Timmins.
This year, 182 municipalities had roads nominated. Drivers accounted for the majority of votes cast, followed by cyclists and pedestrians. Eighty per cent of voters cited potholes as the reason for selecting a road.
The Worst Road campaign has been running since 2003 and has helped sway a number of politicians to take action on poor road infrastructure. Last year, for instance, the mayor of Windsor committed $8.1 million in funding to the Lauzon Parkway, which was named on 2021’s regional list.
“It was a multi-million dollar project that needed to be done,” De Felice says, “and he announced that he was putting the money towards [the road] and that he wanted to see Lauzon off the list.”
Here’s this year’s list of the Top 10 worst roads in Ontario:
- Barton Street East, Hamilton
- Eglinton Avenue West, Toronto
- Barker Street, Prince Edward County
- County Road 49, Prince Edward County
- Carling Avenue, Ottawa
- Eglinton Avenue East, Toronto
- Lake Shore Boulevard East, Toronto
- Finch Avenue West, Toronto
- Bronson Avenue, Ottawa
- Queen Street, Kingston
Here are CAA’s worst Ontario roads by region:
- Central— Laclie Street, Orillia
- Eastern— Barker Street, Prince Edward County
- Halton-Peel-York-Durham— Hurontario Street, Mississauga
- Niagara— Ontario Street, St. Catharines
- North— Algonquin Boulevard East, Timmins
- Southwest— Plank Road, Sarnia
- Western— Speedvale Avenue West, Guelph
- Ottawa— Carling Avenue, Ottawa