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Roads: Ontario/GTA Highways Discussion

2 things: 1) I drive every kilometre of the 400 series within the GTA, and also the DVP, Gardiner and QEW, every so often and I can do 130 over every bit of main freeway laneage if I so desire, congestion and weather permitting. Except portions of the DVP & Gardiner. It "can" be done, but definitely some sections requiring extreme care.The eb409\401 entry ramp is also an exception, but that's a ramp for all intents and purposes. On the 407, 130 isn't even enough to stay in the left lane. On that hwy I tend to stay in lane 3 from the left except to pass (in the wider sections).

2) The number one issue I observe is the left lane hogs doing 95km/h. A lot of congestion, faster-moving vehicles weaving in and out of the non-left lanes and such are directly caused by slow movers in the left lane. I can't tell how many times I encounter "crowded" conditions on these hwys, only to discover at the head of the line are a bunch of vehicles all lined up beside each other doing the same speed across all the lanes and therefore not allowing anyone to pass. Sometimes, if I'm especially annoyed, I'll do this: once I'm finally ahead of the left lane slow mover, I'll get in the left lane and gradually slow down in front of them to the point where they are forced to move to the right looking to get past me, then I'll speed away and watch as piles of cars looking to get by pour through the opening I've just helped to create. And how often do you see the left lane hog driving with a death grip on the steering wheel, as they are clearly unable to deal with the speeds that are expected when in the left lane, but won't move over?

We need to more strongly enforce the left lane rule here. In the US, you can't cruise in the left lane. Do it long enough and you run the risk of being pulled over. The left lane is to be used as a passing lane. Cruise on the right; when a slower vehicle is encountered, switch to the left, execute the pass and then get back to the right. It's been posted here many times that we should also change those "slower traffic keep right" signs to "keep right except to pass" signs. Better wording that may help to keep the left lane more clear.

The HOV lane being the left-most lane confuses the issue, as people now thing they can cruise in any general purpose lane, but by hwy etiquette, the left lane should still be the fastest moving lane, as each lane to the left should see an uptick in general speeds, similar to the visual example shown above.

I, for one, am there for autobahn-style rules, where the right lane is regulated, moving left speed limits go up and the left-most lane(s) is/are no limit. On the 407, which is the closest thing we have to sane driving locally, in that drivers get it pretty quick not to lollygag in the left lane(s), as folks are over there regularly doing 140+. The 401 express/collector system is actually well-suited to a structure that could state limits of 120 km/h in the express and 100 km/h in the collector.. And yes, for kicks, I occasionally drive across Toronto in the collectors only and it's quite doable in the left 2 main lanes without having to do much lane changing (for lane alignment reasons, anyways)..
I'll counter your point. If you find that you are constantly having to weave across 3 lanes of traffic just to maintain your desired speed, you are as much of the problem as the slow poke in the left lane. No one is obligated to move aside to allow you to break/ignore laws (yes speed limits are law). Don't agree with the speed limits, petition the government to change it.

The keep right except to pass rule is fine when traffic is light but the minute the roads become congested that rule goes out the window for me. No one is going to leave the left lane wide open while the right two lanes are bumper to bumper. And Toronto's roads are perma congested
 
I'll counter your point. If you find that you are constantly having to weave across 3 lanes of traffic just to maintain your desired speed, you are as much of the problem as the slow poke in the left lane. No one is obligated to move aside to allow you to break/ignore laws (yes speed limits are law). Don't agree with the speed limits, petition the government to change it.

The keep right except to pass rule is fine when traffic is light but the minute the roads become congested that rule goes out the window for me. No one is going to leave the left lane wide open while the right two lanes are bumper to bumper. And Toronto's roads are perma congested
Yes, thank you. And it's worse when people drive like this on local roads.
 
I'll counter your point. If you find that you are constantly having to weave across 3 lanes of traffic just to maintain your desired speed, you are as much of the problem as the slow poke in the left lane. No one is obligated to move aside to allow you to break/ignore laws (yes speed limits are law). Don't agree with the speed limits, petition the government to change it.

The keep right except to pass rule is fine when traffic is light but the minute the roads become congested that rule goes out the window for me. No one is going to leave the left lane wide open while the right two lanes are bumper to bumper. And Toronto's roads are perma congested
Drivers here are the most inconsiderate people on the planet, the second I cross the border into NY people will generally move over in the left lane if someone is going faster. I don't see speed limits going up while that is still the case.
 
Sometimes, if I'm especially annoyed, I'll do this: once I'm finally ahead of the left lane slow mover, I'll get in the left lane and gradually slow down in front of them to the point where they are forced to move to the right looking to get past me, then I'll speed away and watch as piles of cars looking to get by pour through the opening I've just helped to create
Two wrongs don't make a right. We're not in kindergarten anymore. Please stop for the sake of other drivers.
In the US, you can't cruise in the left lane. Do it long enough and you run the risk of being pulled over. The left lane is to be used as a passing lane. Cruise on the right; when a slower vehicle is encountered, switch to the left, execute the pass and then get back to the right.
As someone who has lived there for a number of years, you get the same thing or worse. I've seen it all, in both countries.
I, for one, am there for autobahn-style rules
I don't think highways are built for this (especially given volume of transport truck traffic), nor is there appetite for increased taxes or insurance.
 
Drivers here are the most inconsiderate people on the planet, the second I cross the border into NY people will generally move over in the left lane if someone is going faster. I don't see speed limits going up while that is still the case.

Comparing upstate NY interstates to the GTA is not fair. I bet if you drive around NYC you'll see some of the same behaviour, maybe worse.
 
I'll counter your point. If you find that you are constantly having to weave across 3 lanes of traffic just to maintain your desired speed, you are as much of the problem as the slow poke in the left lane. No one is obligated to move aside to allow you to break/ignore laws (yes speed limits are law). Don't agree with the speed limits, petition the government to change it.

The keep right except to pass rule is fine when traffic is light but the minute the roads become congested that rule goes out the window for me. No one is going to leave the left lane wide open while the right two lanes are bumper to bumper. And Toronto's roads are perma congested
To be clear, I said I can navigate the 400 series at 130 comfortably. I usually don't. And I don't weave in and out of traffic willy nilly. I drive to the current weather and traffic conditions. I just find that the hwys can become unnecessarily congested when slow movers hold up the left lane. And that can cause those who want to go faster to leave the left and weave through traffic to get around.

I personally tend to want to cruise at about 110-115 in ideal conditions. And I believe at that speed, I should be able to, accessing the left lane occasionally for passing slower traffic, and clearing once that pass is executed. I don't believe I should be passing people cruising slower than that in the left, given that even if the law states 100, faster moving traffic isn't doing 100, they're doing 120+. There is also a law on the books that states if someone is coming up behind you going faster than you are, one is supposed to safely move to the right and let that faster vehicle pass..

Edit to add: "YES, we enforce "left lane bandits." The left lane is for PASSING. If you are not passing and there is a vehicle behind you, you need to move to the right and let them pass regardless of your speed of travel." from OPP Central region
 
A big part of the problem isn't a lack of enforcement - it's a lack of convictions. There are all sorts of HTA violations that the cops could lay - and used to - but the JPs started tossing them. Examples being 'following too closely', 'failure to move right' and 'drive off roadway' (paved shoulder or those last second lane changes across the painted bullnose at a ramp). You don't go to court too often to have your charges tossed before you take the hint. I reality, it's hard to argue with some defences. Leaving the left lane clear, or several car lengths between you and the vehicle ahead, during rush hour are pretty unrealistic.

GTA drivers are pretty bad; other drivers playing traffic cop don't make it any better. Too many drivers have no business being out there, either by virtue of skill or attitude. Holding your ground (lane) because you're doing the speed limit is just as illegal as somebody doing 120. What the faster driver doesn't get to do is bumper lock you until you get the message, whether are passing or not. If you are doing 101 and overtaking a vehicle doing 100, they don't get to force you off the road.

The OPP says they enforce left lane bandits. What else are they going to say? Besides, Central Region doesn't police the GTA 400-series; Highway Safety Division does.
 
It's absolutely the case the limits are too low. Either design the roads to actually be 100; or make it the real world speed with improved enforcement to keep speeds from rising further. Remember, in the 70s, limits were 130 when cars were considerably less safe than today.
 
It's absolutely the case the limits are too low. Either design the roads to actually be 100; or make it the real world speed with improved enforcement to keep speeds from rising further. Remember, in the 70s, limits were 130 when cars were considerably less safe than today.
Limits in Ontario were never 130, I don't beleive. IIRC The highest they were was 70mph which is like 113km/h.

The 70mph limit generally applied to basically every highway in the province however, not a limited few like the 110 limit today does.

Generally I think Ontario could stick 110 limits on basically every freeway in the province, outside of a few special cases (406, 401 through Central Toronto, etc.), 120 on ones with higher design standards, and should generally raise most rural provincial highway speed limits to 90 as well.
 
Scarlett Road, north of the Humber River, used to be 60 km/h. Dixon Road used to be 60 km/h. Their speed limit signs were changed to 50 km/h, but nothing else. It still FEELS like we can do 100 km/h because of the wide traffic lanes, and drivers do speed. The streets are DESIGNED for the "safety" of speeders, not for pedestrians. The traffic lanes are too wide. The intersection corners are also too wide, allowing the drivers to take the turn at a high rate speed.

From link.

Benefits of Smaller Corners​


While large radii are helpful (and in some cases necessary) for accommodating large trucks, they are detrimental to the pedestrian environment. As documented in the white paper that I co-authored for Alta Planning + Design called Corner Design for All Users, large corner radii can lead to:
  • faster passenger vehicle turning speeds, which is associated with lower yielding rates to pedestrians and higher chance of injury or death in the case of a collision
  • longer pedestrian crossing distances and more exposure to traffic
Large corners also take up a lot of real estate at an intersection! Compared to a more compact 5m radius curve, a 15m curve requires an additional 43 square metres of space (the size of an average bachelor apartment!). That’s 43 square metres that could have been used for landscaping, a wider sidewalk, or other pedestrian amenities.
 
Limits in Ontario were never 130, I don't beleive. IIRC The highest they were was 70mph which is like 113km/h.

The 70mph limit generally applied to basically every highway in the province however, not a limited few like the 110 limit today does.

Generally I think Ontario could stick 110 limits on basically every freeway in the province, outside of a few special cases (406, 401 through Central Toronto, etc.), 120 on ones with higher design standards, and should generally raise most rural provincial highway speed limits to 90 as well. Th
Memory fades but my recollection was the 70mph limit was limited to the 400-series/QEW. The remainder were 60mph. That only lasted a few years until the freeways were reduced to 60mph and the rest to 50mph (55 for 11 and 17 in the north). Somewhere in there - I think mid-late '70s - metrification came alone and there was some slight adjusting to round the numbers. For a while there was dual signage.
 
Memory fades but my recollection was the 70mph limit was limited to the 400-series/QEW. The remainder were 60mph. That only lasted a few years until the freeways were reduced to 60mph and the rest to 50mph (55 for 11 and 17 in the north). Somewhere in there - I think mid-late '70s - metrification came alone and there was some slight adjusting to round the numbers. For a while there was dual signage.
If my memory serves, the drop from 70 mph to 60 was about 1973 (supposedly because of the oil crisis) and the switch to 100 km/hr was in the summer of 1977.
 
Memory fades but my recollection was the 70mph limit was limited to the 400-series/QEW. The remainder were 60mph. That only lasted a few years until the freeways were reduced to 60mph and the rest to 50mph (55 for 11 and 17 in the north). Somewhere in there - I think mid-late '70s - metrification came alone and there was some slight adjusting to round the numbers. For a while there was dual signage.

That, too, would have been sections of the QEW as it wasn’t completely grade separated until the early 1970s. Still many at-grade intersections in Niagara Region until then.
 

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