Hamilton road voted worst in Ontario, roads in Ottawa, Toronto and Kingston make CAA list

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A large pothole and alligator cracks can be seen on Barton Street East. The street was voted Ontario's worst roadway of 2022 on CAA's annual list. (Bobby Hristova/CBC - image credit)
A large pothole and alligator cracks can be seen on Barton Street East. The street was voted Ontario's worst roadway of 2022 on CAA's annual list. (Bobby Hristova/CBC - image credit)

Roads in Hamilton, Toronto and Prince Edward County have topped the Canadian Automobile Association's (CAA) annual list for the worst roads in Ontario.

Residents vote on the worst roads, usually citing potholes, poor maintenance and poor biking infrastructure. Cyclists and pedestrians make up roughly a quarter of voters. CAA then works with the Ontario Road Builders Association to vet the list.

"We provide a forum to create engagement, that's because people don't know how to communicate at a local level about the frustrations they're experiencing," Teresa Di Felice, assistant vice president of government and community relations with CAA's south central Ontario branch, told CBC Hamilton.

Barton Street East in Hamilton was listed as the worst road in Ontario, ahead of Eglinton Avenue West in Toronto, Barker Street in Prince Edward County.

Four of the 10 worst roads, including Eglinton Avenue West, were in Toronto.

Ottawa's Carling Avenue and Bronson Avenue, as well as Kingston's Queen Street also made the list.

Here's the full list:

  1. Barton Street East in Hamilton.

  2. Eglinton Avenue West in Toronto.

  3. Barker Street in Prince Edward County.

  4. County Road 49 in Prince Edward County.

  5. Carling Avenue in Ottawa.

  6. Eglinton Avenue East in Toronto.

  7. Lake Shore Boulevard East in Toronto.N.

  8. Finch Avenue West in Toronto.

  9. Bronson Avenue in Ottawa.

  10. Queen Street in Kingston.

CAA also has regional lists. In Ontario, 182 municipalities had roads in their communities nominated.

CAA spokesperson Kaitlynn Furse said in an email "investing in all roadway infrastructure is important when it comes to building good roads, whether it is road surface improvements, cycling infrastructure, signage or walking infrastructure."

Bobby Hristova/CBC
Bobby Hristova/CBC

Di Felice said it's also important senior levels of government provide funding to municipalities like gas tax revenues instead of cities raising property taxes.

She added previous CAA research shows putting a dollar into pavement preservation can avoid a city paying six to $10 later on to address issues.

What did voters say about the worst roads?

Hamilton's Barton Street was listed as the fifth worst road in 2019 and the third worst road in 2021.

"The extremeness of Barton Street East and the frustration from Hamiltonians and those travelling through Hamilton has definitely catapulted Barton Street East to the top," Di Felice said.

"It's got this alligator cracking, really poor surface. I don't even think you can dodge a pothole anymore, there's no more to swerve."

Bobby Hristova/CBC
Bobby Hristova/CBC

Furse said the street was voted as the city's worst road for the third consecutive year.

She also said voters chose Barton and Parkdale Avenue North as the worst intersection.

City spokesperson Emily Trotta said Barton Street East is on the city's radar, saying it will "continue to be a location of priority when moving ahead with resurfacing and reconstruction projects."

She said over the next two years there will be $7.5 million worth of work done to reconstruct the street and sidewalks, create pedestrian crossovers and a multi-use path on the street between Parkdale Avenue and Talbot Street

"Other segments of Barton, including between Wentworth and Sherman, Sherman and Ottawa, and Ottawa and Kenilworth will be prioritized for scheduled improvements in the coming years, and timing for work will be determined in 2023 as part of capital budget review."

The city also initiated the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment process for improvements to Barton Street East, but Di Felice noted it'll take until 2025 for a detailed design for the street to start.

Among Toronto's worst roads, Furse said the entirety of Eglinton Avenue "is of concern—largely due to crumbling pavement and potholes." She also said many of the challenges may be resolved after the Eglinton Crosstown project is complete.

Di Felice also said the road surface and congestion were also complaints from voters.

Furse said Prince Edward County's Barker Street was first place in the Eastern Region. She said voters noted "potholes, poor road maintenance and poor walking infrastructure."

Di Felice notes last year Victoria Road in Prince Edward County made it to the top of the list after residents put up signs asking people to vote for it.

Hamilton tops list amid string of pedestrian deaths

The top five worst roads in Hamilton were Barton Street East, Aberdeen Avenue, Burlington Street East (Ontario's worst road in 2017 and 2018 per CAA), Upper James Street and Rymal Road East.

Barton Street East topping the CAA's provincial list comes amid a string of pedestrian deaths from collisions in Hamilton this year.

The city has seen 11 pedestrians die since January. Nine of those were on city streets, prompting city council to consider reverting Main Street to two-way traffic.

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