Warman-Martensville commuter corridor busiest in province: Growing pressure on Highways 11 and 12

CBC News December 18, 2013 - Saskatoon holds the record for the number of commuters driving into the city daily —11,995 people — according to Sask Trends Monitor. That's twice Regina's volume of 6,140.

And almost half of Saskatoon's commuters — 5,170 — are from the north end, from Martensville and Warman, along Highways 11 and 12.

Scott Werner is among them. He works at a construction site in downtown Saskatoon. His fiancee, a nurse, also works in Saskatoon. They have children attending school and sports activities in Warman, Dalmeny and Saskatoon.

Werner said Wednesday he accepts the hectic life, just so he can live closer to the country. He grew up in Dalmeny, and doesn't mind the highway driving.

"I sometimes find that drive is therapeutic," Werner said. "It's a chance to switch gears. You get caught up on the news, weather and sports, you know those types of things."

His fiancee Lisa White said her commute is no worse than when she and her son were living in the city.

"The areas that I lived in while I was in school, it took at least half an hour or forty-five minutes just to get my son to school.  And then I had the rest of my drive to get to my school," White said.

It does mean they have to be masters of logistics, often taking along changes of clothes and food when they leave home in the morning.

Impact on city

Some city councillors have raised concerns about the cost of amenities, such as roads and leisure centres, used by out-of-towners. While they pay user fees, they don't contribute through property tax.

However the city's general manager of community services, Randy Grauer, said there is a positive side to the story.

"If we have commuters coming in from Martensville they're not putting pressure on our river crossings, for example, if they happen to work in north industrial," he said.

Grauer said a mix of places to live, including bedroom communities, is a mark of an economically successful region. And, he said, it makes Saskatoon competitive with other North American cities.