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Roads: Ontario/GTA Highways Discussion

Fake London man explains Toronto's transportation problems

And do you agree with him, if I recall you and I, Haljackey go a long way back.

What many people seem to miss since the cancelation of Spadina was the explosive growth (moreso in what we now call the GTA) since that decision. I mean what was the combined population of what we now call City of Toronto, Peel Region, Halton Region, York Region, and Durham Region back in 1972, probably just north of 2 million, I don’t know myself.

I’d like to explain this more in greater detail in a separate thread, but having a background in trucking who’s now studying civil engineering much later in life, is how almost all projects seem to disregard the importance of commercial traffic or truck traffic nowadays. Take for example HOV lanes, adding an HOV lane to Barrie on Hwy 400 theoretically provides more space for automobiles and buses but doesn’t provide any new space for trucks, it’s commercial traffic especially why I strongly support the project known as Hwy 413.

Obviously such a road wouldn’t be as needed if fair prices existed on Hwy 407, but that’s not going to happen and so here we are.
 
And do you agree with him, if I recall you and I, Haljackey go a long way back.

What many people seem to miss since the cancelation of Spadina was the explosive growth (moreso in what we now call the GTA) since that decision. I mean what was the combined population of what we now call City of Toronto, Peel Region, Halton Region, York Region, and Durham Region back in 1972, probably just north of 2 million, I don’t know myself.

I’d like to explain this more in greater detail in a separate thread, but having a background in trucking who’s now studying civil engineering much later in life, is how almost all projects seem to disregard the importance of commercial traffic or truck traffic nowadays. Take for example HOV lanes, adding an HOV lane to Barrie on Hwy 400 theoretically provides more space for automobiles and buses but doesn’t provide any new space for trucks, it’s commercial traffic especially why I strongly support the project known as Hwy 413.

Obviously such a road wouldn’t be as needed if fair prices existed on Hwy 407, but that’s not going to happen and so here we are.
... or if less people drove their cars to go from Scarborough to Downtown or Etobicoke, because we had better public transit. That would also free up space for trucks.

Edit to add ideas:

Yes, I know congestion is bad, in more than one way. I'm not *that* stupid. But increasing road capacity isn't actually going to make trucking trips faster. A 413, unless banned to most vehicles (which is improbable) and not surrounded by development (impossible), would be filled up immediately. Its low capacity (6 lanes) means that it would fill relatively quickly. There isn't much gain to be made there.
 
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And do you agree with him, if I recall you and I, Haljackey go a long way back.

What many people seem to miss since the cancelation of Spadina was the explosive growth (moreso in what we now call the GTA) since that decision. I mean what was the combined population of what we now call City of Toronto, Peel Region, Halton Region, York Region, and Durham Region back in 1972, probably just north of 2 million, I don’t know myself.

I’d like to explain this more in greater detail in a separate thread, but having a background in trucking who’s now studying civil engineering much later in life, is how almost all projects seem to disregard the importance of commercial traffic or truck traffic nowadays. Take for example HOV lanes, adding an HOV lane to Barrie on Hwy 400 theoretically provides more space for automobiles and buses but doesn’t provide any new space for trucks, it’s commercial traffic especially why I strongly support the project known as Hwy 413.

Obviously such a road wouldn’t be as needed if fair prices existed on Hwy 407, but that’s not going to happen and so here we are.

I can't make that series of associations.

Don't get me wrong, commercial traffic needs to move; and a sizable portion thereof will move by truck.

That said; we move more 'stuff' than we need to at the expense of local production, because transport is too cheap.

We can move more 'stuff' by rail, particularly for the long-distance portion, but some short-distance as well, if land-use planning and industry location were more sensible.

Further, as noted by @DirectionNorth above, we move far too many people (as opposed to goods) by highway, and in so doing clog up space that could be used for commercial truck traffic. Those people should be moved, in greater proportion
by transit/walking/cycling.

I'm a pragmatist, and car owner/driver, I don't expect everyone to switch, by expect more people would given a credible alternative, and that would b ea social and environmental good.
 
So what exactly is your solution, while there is a decent rapid transit system that gets you from Scarborough to Etobicoke (something that most times of the day would be quicker by car depending where you start and end up) how does one get from say Northern Brampton where I am to say Markham?

More rapid transit is needed, but actual rapid transit, when we discussed originally filling corridors like Eglinton with subway and now a repeat of the St Clair or Spadina right of ways is at play. A better example is Finch West, is the real endgame with that line to simply rebrand it as 515 Finch West Express, it wouldn’t shock me if that did happen. When you have a transit vehicle that barely improves the travel time from before, is all this alteration to the street worth it?

More transit is needed, you don’t need to argue with me, but when driving still is more convenient and less time consuming in many situations, most people will still opt to drive.

And if all roads induce traffic as they say, it’s been 15 years since the Hwy 410 extension opened, where’s the bumper to bumper traffic from latent demand? If anything, Heart Lake Road which runs parallel to Hwy 410 was relieved of traffic burden and functions well as a quiet road with a school on it.

The real situation is city growth, I’m not that old but I do remember when Brampton had a population under 200,000, before the widening of Hwy 410 in the mid 2010s, the state of Hwy 410 was much the same since 1991. Obviously as the city grew, there was more utilization of Hwy 410, and growth happened moreso because of immigration.

Speaking of that word, immigration is a situation that’s controlled by the federal government and increases of population can trickle down to overburdening of transportation systems. This is why I strongly believe that since the feds are responsible for immigration, then they should be responsible for the majority of funding for transportation infrastructure projects (and even healthcare projects for that matter).
 
And do you agree with him, if I recall you and I, Haljackey go a long way back.

What many people seem to miss since the cancelation of Spadina was the explosive growth (moreso in what we now call the GTA) since that decision. I mean what was the combined population of what we now call City of Toronto, Peel Region, Halton Region, York Region, and Durham Region back in 1972, probably just north of 2 million, I don’t know myself.

I’d like to explain this more in greater detail in a separate thread, but having a background in trucking who’s now studying civil engineering much later in life, is how almost all projects seem to disregard the importance of commercial traffic or truck traffic nowadays. Take for example HOV lanes, adding an HOV lane to Barrie on Hwy 400 theoretically provides more space for automobiles and buses but doesn’t provide any new space for trucks, it’s commercial traffic especially why I strongly support the project known as Hwy 413.

Obviously such a road wouldn’t be as needed if fair prices existed on Hwy 407, but that’s not going to happen and so here we are.
The only way we're going to decongest highways for commercial traffic is tolling, investment in transit and to a lesser degree land use planning. One more lane is not going to do it.
 
The only way we're going to decongest highways for commercial traffic is tolling, investment in transit and to a lesser degree land use planning. One more lane is not going to do it.
And how much investment in real transit has occurred since the cancellation of Spadina 50 years ago, I think we all know the answer. Much of the transit lifeblood of the city was running back in ‘72 or was under construction.

Cancellation of Spadina was supposed to lead to a focus in transit, well here we are half a century later, a silly toy train in Scarborough, a stub on Sheppard, and a more recent extension on the least utilized terminus in the system (mind you my home station is on the extension but still)

Tolls, if we are going to entertain the idea of that on Hwy 401, (a different argument can be said of the Gardiner because it serves a different purpose) drivers will simply jam up the parallel east-west streets like Wilson.

Hwy 401 as it stands serves commuters, very important trucking route, recreational traffic and also including those who want to go to an area beyond the GTA from outside of it, for example someone from Kitchener wanting to go to Kingston for example, they’ll have to pass through the 401.

If you think Hwy 413 will just be massive traffic jams, just how many traffic jams are on A-30 in Quebec, built so those wishing to avoid Montreal don’t have to use the hectic A-40 or A-20 to get through the city.
 
And do you agree with him, if I recall you and I, Haljackey go a long way back.

What many people seem to miss since the cancelation of Spadina was the explosive growth (moreso in what we now call the GTA) since that decision. I mean what was the combined population of what we now call City of Toronto, Peel Region, Halton Region, York Region, and Durham Region back in 1972, probably just north of 2 million, I don’t know myself.

I’d like to explain this more in greater detail in a separate thread, but having a background in trucking who’s now studying civil engineering much later in life, is how almost all projects seem to disregard the importance of commercial traffic or truck traffic nowadays. Take for example HOV lanes, adding an HOV lane to Barrie on Hwy 400 theoretically provides more space for automobiles and buses but doesn’t provide any new space for trucks, it’s commercial traffic especially why I strongly support the project known as Hwy 413.

Obviously such a road wouldn’t be as needed if fair prices existed on Hwy 407, but that’s not going to happen and so here we are.

Hi there! Everyone has their own thoughts regarding how things should be done and this guy (not just bikes) certainly puts a spin on his videos.

Nevertheless, I actually like looking into 'both' sides of the arguments. I don't put my head in the sand like many people that just stay on one side of the issue and refuse to hear what other people have to say.

The Spidina expressway was a terrible idea IMO and was rightfully cancelled. Instead the 400 could have been extended - replacing Black Creek Drive and then running parallel to the railway towards downtown (but possibly not all the way to the Gardiner).
-As for Toronto's other freeway plans, cancelling Richview and crosstown expressways were also smart choices. If a way was found to extend the Gardiner all the way to the 401 that would have likely improved flow through the city due to a fully redundant route to the 401 (at least before the 407 was built, and some say it's not a redundant route due to high tolls however that's a whole other topic).
-I'd much rather have one wide highway (the 401) vs 4-5 smaller freeways that scar the urban fabric of town which is what most US cities did. However, redundancy is a good thing too so a balance is needed.

Tearing up streetcars was also a terrible idea. Destroying already built infrastructure should be a rare thing... Let's say much of the streetcar system was bombed out during a war or something- then it might make sense to make the tough call to tear the rest out because it's simply too difficult to fix as money is desperately needed elsewhere. OR let's say Toronto was a shrinking city population-wise like Detroit and could no longer afford to operate/maintain the line properly. Neither applies to Toronto so all the lines should have been kept... luckily most of them were compared to other North American cities.

I'm a 'why not both' proponent. Let's build more subways / transit but you also can't ignore the roads too. 18 wheelers still need to use your roads, so do large construction vehicles, sanitation, etc. If you get more commuters on transit, you can open up these roads a bit without the need for widening or new builds. Focus on fixing bottlenecks for roads and address the greatest need and missing links for transit. The current transit plans underway and planned are well suited to address this, but I still think it is dumb line 3 couldn't be saved. That's tearing out already built infrastructure. Convert that to a grade-separated streetcar or something, don't destroy it!

I am not from Toronto so my perspective is a bit different. Growing up in London where it's just one city it seemed kinda nuts how many little cities there were in Metro Toronto before it was amalgamated. Like it or not, it's all one city now, and that includes cities around the current city limits too. If I were premier I would make Toronto absorb more cities into the fold including Mississauga, Brampton, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Markham and Pickering/Ajax.
-Would this cause some chaos politically? Absolutely. But over time the residents of this new giant city will come to understand that what happens across town matters. If you pay for a subway project over there... perhaps they will pay for a subway project in your area next. I sure hope Rob Ford was an exception to this rule, and many voters in Toronto have learned their lesson voting in someone like that. While you may not like Tory, at least he's a competent step up and does not make Toronto look like a farce on the world stage.

When it comes to zoning/politics... I'm sorry single family home owners but you live in the middle of a growing metropolis. Healthy cities this size need to grow up and intensify. Besides areas like around the airport, high rise development should be permitted and encouraged. If you want to live in suburbia, move to the edge of town or another town.

Not just Bikes loves to rip on Fake London, but we also tore up freeway plans. Problem is we're also tearing up transit plans now too. We're a do-nothing city :p
 
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So what exactly is your solution, while there is a decent rapid transit system that gets you from Scarborough to Etobicoke (something that most times of the day would be quicker by car depending where you start and end up) how does one get from say Northern Brampton where I am to say Markham?

There is a planned rapid transit line in the 407 corridor, I think that makes a great deal of sense.

The only issue there is that it will a fairly long time before we see it built, perhaps starting in a decade, perhaps a longer; but the 413 isn't going to appear overnight either.

More transit is needed, you don’t need to argue with me, but when driving still is more convenient and less time consuming in many situations, most people will still opt to drive.

Drive time needs to be competitive w/the car, but not necessarily as good or better; there are a mixture of incentives and disincentives (carrots and sticks) to encourage or discourage certain choices.

Availability and cost of parking at one's destination, tolls/congestion charges en route, along with service frequency, travel time and comfort for those taking transit.

Lots of changes are required to achieve material modal shift; but we've already shown they can be done.

I'm old enough to remember the modal share in downtown Toronto being as much car as transit. Today, transit is the lion's share of that commuter base.

We're not going to make every node as attractive by transit as downtown, of course, but we can make considerable shifts.
 
And how much investment in real transit has occurred since the cancellation of Spadina 50 years ago, I think we all know the answer. Much of the transit lifeblood of the city was running back in ‘72 or was under construction.

Cancellation of Spadina was supposed to lead to a focus in transit, well here we are half a century later, a silly toy train in Scarborough, a stub on Sheppard, and a more recent extension on the least utilized terminus in the system (mind you my home station is on the extension but still)

Tolls, if we are going to entertain the idea of that on Hwy 401, (a different argument can be said of the Gardiner because it serves a different purpose) drivers will simply jam up the parallel east-west streets like Wilson.
A couple of thoughts:
-transit investment has notably ticked up in recent years, particularly GO expansion, but also OL, Line 5, etc.
-tolls cannot wait for perfect or even adequate transit for all trips. The 401 is serving no one when it is reduced to 20-30 kph daily. You don't need to remove that many marginal peak trips to bring up average travel speeds.
-tolls revenue can help to accelerate transit investment. Decongesting highways will make GO buses a lot more effective and appealing. It would render the need for elaborate bus transit ways moot.
-failure to put in place tolls now will only make it more painful to implement them later by tacitly encouraging patterns of development that rely on inefficient use of highways.
-parallel surface streets are already congested. People can use them if absolutely needed, but many trips will simply be induced away.
-any idea of fairness of free highway access needs to be disabused in the population. If we don't guarantee free housing and food, I can't see any fairness argument supporting free highway access to be credible. And there remains untolled alternatives in the place of surface streets.
-tolls shouldn't be set to maximize revenues as with 407, but to ensure demand does not exceed supply and the highway usually operates at tolerable speeds at peak. That means low to zero tolls off-peak, rather than the 407 charging 20-30 cents per km at 3 am.
 
Yeah, Line 5, a half assed version of something that was proposed back when Spadina was canceled, now before you play the game and say that Harris canceled it when shovels were in the ground, the current version is unacceptable.

Obviously, the above ground section since it won’t use any kind of signalling priority will not be marginally better than the status quo in this section. The underground portion does save the line from being a total bust though.

But Finch West, how that is a line that’s worthy of getting such a bullet is beyond me, it’s in practice no different than a ROW streetcar route other than stops being further apart. Who’s to say that Finch West won’t be rebranded as a 500 series route in the future. After all, the Harbourfront LRT as it was originally called was on the TTC Ride Guide as a service on par with the subways and RT.
 
Yeah, Line 5, a half assed version of something that was proposed back when Spadina was canceled, now before you play the game and say that Harris canceled it when shovels were in the ground, the current version is unacceptable.

Obviously, the above ground section since it won’t use any kind of signalling priority will not be marginally better than the status quo in this section. The underground portion does save the line from being a total bust though.

But Finch West, how that is a line that’s worthy of getting such a bullet is beyond me, it’s in practice no different than a ROW streetcar route other than stops being further apart. Who’s to say that Finch West won’t be rebranded as a 500 series route in the future. After all, the Harbourfront LRT as it was originally called was on the TTC Ride Guide as a service on par with the subways and RT.

Your hostility towards other posters and derision towards any idea other than more highways is not constructive.

Multiple posters have highlighted GO Expansion, The Ontario Line, The Yonge North Line etc..........

Line 5 will be almost completely separated from traffic from Laird in the east to the airport in the west. Many of us here share the concern than the eastern portion as designed is inadequate, in capacity and speed, but that hardly negates the value of the rest of the project.

The thrust here is not anti-car or anti-truck (I'm a driver and car owner, as many are here); its that more highways at the outer edge of urbanity aren't the solution to traffic woes.

You asked for alternatives, you've been supplied ample choice.
 
Your hostility towards other posters and derision towards any idea other than more highways is not constructive.

Multiple posters have highlighted GO Expansion, The Ontario Line, The Yonge North Line etc..........

Line 5 will be almost completely separated from traffic from Laird in the east to the airport in the west. Many of us here share the concern than the eastern portion as designed is inadequate, in capacity and speed, but that hardly negates the value of the rest of the project.

The thrust here is not anti-car or anti-truck (I'm a driver and car owner, as many are here); its that more highways at the outer edge of urbanity aren't the solution to traffic woes.

You asked for alternatives, you've been supplied ample choice.
I have not just screamed for more highways and nothing else, but seeing highways as evil things is not fair either.

Eglinton should have been a full blown subway line, I’ve been saying that for years, and saying that opinion doesn’t mean I’m anti transit, far from it. Depending on my situation, I always utilize the Kitchener line or Line 1 from the Spadina Subway Extension to reach downtown.

Similarly, while Ontario Line may sound good, why have the terminus at the exhibition grounds? Why couldn’t have been a more strategic terminus, like say Jane station or Dundas West station? It’s a real missed opportunity there (something you can always say about the city)


As for GO Transit, there may be improvements, and even my line just beyond the junction southeast of Bramalea station, is controlled 100% by Metrolinx, why is it that we still don’t have weekend service. The Lakeshore lines have been spoiled rotten compared to us. Heck, it wasn’t possible to take a GO train out of downtown after a Leafs game until 2019 right before COVID.

I was not insulting anyone, all I was saying is that before when someone criticizes Eglinton, someone would always respond with “But Harris cancelled a subway”
 
I have not just screamed for more highways and nothing else, but seeing highways as evil things is not fair either.

Did someone use the word evil? If they did, I agree that's inappropriate and unhelpful.

I would simply say I don't see a new highway, or substantially widened one as a material solution to any GTA traffic woes.

Keep in mind two things.

On the former: New highways almost always come with new sprawl, meaning new traffic and any gain is temporary.

On the latter: Assuming the highway does manage to move a few more vehicles, a bit quicker, if you haven't expanded all the roads to and from the highway, those will be even more jammed by the change.

Eglinton should have been a full blown subway line....

I'm content to agree with this; though I think the underground portion is likely close enough; the surface sections i can agree are problematic.

Similarly, while Ontario Line may sound good, why have the terminus at the exhibition grounds? Why couldn’t have been a more strategic terminus, like say Jane station or Dundas West station? It’s a real missed opportunity there (something you can always say about the city)

The Ontario Line is the single largest Rapid Transit line project in North America. 16km, 15 stations is a huge undertaking. Nothing about the initial work precludes future expansion, which, indeed is envisioned, but 'phase 1' has to stop somewhere.

An extension to Jane or Dundas West is another few Billion dollars, not a trivial matter, and would likely result in an extended project timeline as well.

As for GO Transit, there may be improvements, and even my line just beyond the junction southeast of Bramalea station, is controlled 100% by Metrolinx, why is it that we still don’t have weekend service.

A perfectly valid question. Please ask them. Privately and publicly.
 
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