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Roads: Ontario/GTA Highways Discussion

Leo_Chan

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The 404 widening is taking absolutely forever and it’s a relatively straightforward addition of a single HOV lane with minimal new structures needed, which is where time is always added.
Was it logical to widen Major Mackenzie Drive to Stouffville Road before Highway 407 and Major Mackenzie Drive? I also feel like it was a missed opportunity to widen the Highway 7 overpass to allow for sidewalk and bus lanes in both directions.
 

ShonTron

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Was in Stouffville the other day with a friend. Can someone explain to me how/why the 404 is wider into the middle of nowhere versus the 410 which goes down to only 2 lanes in each direction past Bovaird?

With the major widening between the 401/403 and Queen Street, the traffic issues were cleared in the south end, but made much worse in the north end. The HOV lanes need to go to Bovaird, and a third general lane continuing from Bovaird to Mayfield. It was very poorly planned.
 

Northern Light

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This is the highway/roadway thread, so I get it.

But at the same time, it irritates me to see these projects treated as if there aren't better uses of the money that would achieve better outcomes for people and the environment alike.

The 401 widening vs GO Kitchener and GO Milton upgrades to 2way, all-day, 30M or better service..........

The 410 widening vs Hurontario LRT to DT Brampton, the Queen Street BRT in Brampton and more Zum infrastructure and service......

It just feels to me as though its all discussed in a vacuum as if there's unlimited money to do everything, all at once, which there clearly is not....

And as if the new/expanded highway infra doesn't undermine future transit.

I don't want to engage in a endless battle on such things; nor am I narrowly commenting on any one project in isolation, in terms of merit.

Its the cumulative impact of not seeing things as a whole system; with a finite set of resources, and prioritizing accordingly.

Edit to Add:

Before some ask the invariable 'what would make me happy?'............a straight answer:

1) I want every potential transit and road project on the table at the same time and objectively prioritized for its positive/negative outcome for people and the environment.

2) Insofar as we accept highways are a less than ideal solution, I'd like to see every major highway project paired with at least one public transit investment of equal or greater value.
 
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kamira51

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This is the highway/roadway thread, so I get it.

But at the same time, it irritates me to see these projects treated as if there aren't better uses of the money that would achieve better outcomes for people and the environment alike.

The 401 widening vs GO Kitchener and GO Milton upgrades to 2way, all-day, 30M or better service..........

The 410 widening vs Hurontario LRT to DT Brampton, the Queen Street BRT in Brampton and more Zum infrastructure and service......

It just feels to me as though its all discussed in a vacuum as if there's unlimited money to do everything, all at once, which there clearly is not....

And as if the new/expanded highway infra doesn't undermine future transit.

I don't want to engage in a endless battle on such things; nor am I narrowly commenting on any one project in isolation, in terms of merit.

Its the cumulative impact of not seeing things as a whole system; with a finite set of resources, and prioritizing accordingly.

Edit to Add:

Before some ask the invariable 'what would make me happy?'............a straight answer:

1) I want every potential transit and road project on the table at the same time and objectively prioritized for its positive/negative outcome for people and the environment.

2) Insofar as we accept highways are a less than idea solution, I'd like to see every major highway project paired with at least one public transit investment of equal or greater value.
I blame that fact we have become to relient on our road network for cars and busses due to the removal of most railway corridors.

And I agree with your two points about investing in example a massive multi-million dollar road widening, that also paid with a transit infrastructure project of same or higher value.

That's my take on it.
 

afransen

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Huh? The part from Hurontario to the Credit River was done in a few years and now they are doing the next part from the Credit to Milton, again, in a few years. Each are separate, albeit immediately adjacent projects and each didn’t take a particularly long time given the work involved.

The 404 widening is taking absolutely forever and it’s a relatively straightforward addition of a single HOV lane with minimal new structures needed, which is where time is always added.
They have been widening over the Credit River for a decade. It is still not complete.... I recall them driving piles for the retaining wall east of the credit 7 or 8 years ago.
 

innsertnamehere

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They have been widening over the Credit River for a decade. It is still not complete.... I recall them driving piles for the retaining wall east of the credit 7 or 8 years ago.
We’ll, they haven’t, so you are misremembering then. They were widening right up to the credit river 7/8 years ago, but the credit river crossing itself started in 2019 I believe.

The reason it probably feels that way is the two contracts were done sequentially and the credit river was the cutoff between the two contracts so there has been construction around the river for a while, but each project has individually proceeded at a relatively quick pace for the parts of the highway that each contract covered.
 

afransen

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We’ll, they haven’t, so you are misremembering then. They were widening right up to the credit river 7/8 years ago, but the credit river crossing itself started in 2019 I believe.

The reason it probably feels that way is the two contracts were done sequentially and the credit river was the cutoff between the two contracts so there has been construction around the river for a while, but each project has individually proceeded at a relatively quick pace for the parts of the highway that each contract covered.
Ok. Frankly an insane way to manage road widening. There has been a perpetual slowdown due to oddly configured lanes for a decade. Truck traffic coming to a dead stop and then crawling up out of the valley makes for permanent congestion. I'm just glad I don't use the 401 for day to day commuting.

I guess how the contracts are structured does nothing to change the fact that the stretch from Hurontario to Mississauga Road has been a disaster for a decade. Two contracts or not, the program has been taking a very long time. From the outside perspective, it makes very little sense to me to structure those contracts in a way for that stretch of the 401 to be disrupted for a decade.
 
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innsertnamehere

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Yes, we can debate the speed which the contracts where issued, but physical construction when the money is flowing has moved.

The 400 widening is generally moving the same way. They have been working on the highway for nearly a decade now and are finally starting to actually widen it, but are doing it in ~10km chunks, after years of slowly replacing bridges and interchanges. As a result it feels like it’s been under construction forever, even if it technically has been separate contracts executed sequentially.
 

darth_freeman

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Before some ask the invariable 'what would make me happy?'............a straight answer:

1) I want every potential transit and road project on the table at the same time and objectively prioritized for its positive/negative outcome for people and the environment.

2) Insofar as we accept highways are a less than ideal solution, I'd like to see every major highway project paired with at least one public transit investment of equal or greater value.
If you've been paying attention, you'll see that far more is being spent on transit than roadways. GO expansion/electrification, Scarborough Subway, Yonge Extension, Eglinton, Finch, Ontario Line, Hamilton LRT, Hurontario LRT. So you can put the "stop building highways if you don't build transit" failed narrative to rest.
 

Northern Light

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If you've been paying attention, you'll see that far more is being spent on transit than roadways. GO expansion/electrification, Scarborough Subway, Yonge Extension, Eglinton, Finch, Ontario Line, Hamilton LRT, Hurontario LRT. So you can put the "stop building highways if you don't build transit" failed narrative to rest.

Do you know how insulting and condescending that post sounds? Because if you don't, consider yourself told.

It merits no further reply.
 

darth_freeman

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Ok. Frankly an insane way to manage road widening. There has been a perpetual slowdown due to oddly configured lanes for a decade. Truck traffic coming to a dead stop and then crawling up out of the valley makes for permanent congestion. I'm just glad I don't use the 401 for day to day commuting.

I guess how the contracts are structured does nothing to change the fact that the stretch from Hurontario to Mississauga Road has been a disaster for a decade. Two contracts or not, the program has been taking a very long time. From the outside perspective, it makes very little sense to me to structure those contracts in a way for that stretch of the 401 to be disrupted for a decade.
MTO itself agrees with you. That's why after the separate 401/Hurontario and 401/Mavis interchange projects, they put out a mega Infrastructure Ontario project which includes Mississauga Road, Winston Churchill, 407ETR, Trafalgar Road, James Snow Parkway, and Regional Road 25 in a single contract. This has proven to result in significantly quicker completion of the entire stretch as it is expected to be completed within the year. This stretch of highway will be considered complete until the 413 is built at the 401/407 interchange.
 

Woodbridge_Heights

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If you've been paying attention, you'll see that far more is being spent on transit than roadways. GO expansion/electrification, Scarborough Subway, Yonge Extension, Eglinton, Finch, Ontario Line, Hamilton LRT, Hurontario LRT. So you can put the "stop building highways if you don't build transit" failed narrative to rest.
What measure are you using? # of projects?, Dollars spent? km of infrastructure? infrastructure volume capacity?

In the same time frame as the projects you've noted above there has been: 427 extension, 410 extension, 404 extension, 407E extension, 412, 418, multiple expansions of the 401 and 407, ongoing expansions/upgrades to 400, plus the planned 413, Bradford bypass, and Niagara Mid Peninsula highway.

repeat after me. Public transit a congestion relieving tool as well.
 

innsertnamehere

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Niagara mid peninsula is dead and will not be getting built any time soon.

Most highway contracts are cheaper than many realize. The massive 401 widening to Milton is only costing something like $600 million.

If you want proof, look at the provincial budget. The province is spending $5-6 billion in annual capital on transit and $2.5 billion on roads. It was $2 billion until this budget too, when Ford increased it to pay for things like the 413. That $2.5 pays for all maintenance as well as expansion, too.

I don’t think anyone is denying transit is congestion relieving, just that it doesn’t need to be an either or, and that it’s not like the province is spending more on roads than transit.
 

Northern Light

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I don’t think anyone is denying transit is congestion relieving, just that it doesn’t need to be an either or, and that it’s not like the province is spending more on roads than transit.

Within urban areas; which we need to distinguish, because we don't expect transit to be a highway alternative in Parry Sound............

The expectation is not zero investment in highways.

Its transit first, in every corridor; then highways, should transit run up against limitations (serving freight, last mile connections, etc etc.)

But don't widen the 401 in the west end until you have delivered K-W 2-way, all-day GO, and Milton; then, when the transit alternative starts to require an entirely new corridor, its fair to consider highway expansion, however reluctant
I would be to go that route.

I also expect the first highway expansion to be devoted to a transitway/bus-only lanes every single time, then we can discuss more car lanes.

I'm a driver, I've lived through the 401 going from six-lanes in many spots to 12+; I've seen the 404 go from 2 lanes each way to 5+; oddly the trip up the 404 that used to take me .......25 minutes in my teens (from East York to Major Mack ) now takes 45M, off-peak, on a good day.

All that expansion has resulted in a trip time increased by 80%.

Note the absence of any serious investment in public transit in a N-S corridor roughly parallel to the DVP/404 during this time period.

Simply put, IF I choose to make that trip by car, I want to go quickly, that means I'm happy to pay a toll to force everyone else out of may way, instead of encouraging everyone to join the party with 3 more lanes.

But before imposing that toll, for myself or others, there needs to be a transit alternative.

Transit First, Tolls second, Highway expansion yes, if needed, but last (again, in urban areas).
 
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