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Old November 3rd, 2010, 12:51 PM   #1781
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Around Alberta, on Highway 93 the scenery its really very nice

@Haljackey: I had asked here (not you of course ) if motorway 401 is the extension of the avenue of Toronto
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Old November 3rd, 2010, 06:41 PM   #1782
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
The busiest freeway in the U.S. is the I-405 near Seal Beach with 395,000 vehicles per day. However, some Houston freeways are gaining ground, with US 59 having 330,000 vehicles per day. The I-10 in Phoenix is forecast to grow to 430,000 vehicles per day.

However, nothing beats the projected 2020 volume of the I-635 in Dallas; 500,000 vehicles per day.


1
That's nuts. Looking at both Houston and Phoenix, there seems to be other routes through or around the city people can take. The 635 in Dallas seems just be a ring-road-like route. I can see how it connects to other highways in the region (such as the high 5) but it looks like there are many, many other routes motorists can take.

The 401 in Toronto is the only true east-west route through the city. The 407 is tolled it's eastern terminus ends without a freeway connection (although they're trying to fix that). The QEW/Gardiner Expressway simply winds it's way back to the 401 via Highway 427 (also a very busy road, AADT's over 300,000) and the Don Valley Parkway.

The busiest section of the 401 is 16 lanes wide, and the plan for the route in Phoenix is 24 designed to handle a load similar to this section. I wonder if they made this part of the highway 24 lanes... Would it be able to move more volumes through as that part is normally congested? That would involve serious reconstruction of major interchanges in a city where there's much public opposition to highway building.

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@Haljackey: I had asked here (not you of course ) if motorway 401 is the extension of the avenue of Toronto
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1365/...eb1b5780_b.jpg
That's the Gardiner Expressway that carves it's way into Downtown Toronto. Highway 401 is to the north of here. See this map for reference:

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Last edited by Haljackey; November 3rd, 2010 at 06:47 PM.
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Old November 3rd, 2010, 06:51 PM   #1783
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The busiest section of the 401 is 16 lanes wide, and the plan for the route in Phoenix is 24 designed to handle a load similar to this section. I wonder if they made this part of the highway 24 lanes... Would it be able to move more volumes through as that part is normally congested? That would involve serious reconstruction of major interchanges in a city where there's much public opposition to highway building.
Contrary to popular belief, 16 lanes is not that generous capacity for 430.000 vehicles per day. 16 lanes can handle 350.000 vpd pretty smoothly, but if you're near 400.000 it gets problematic, not to mention 430.000 vpd. Another problem is the local-express setup, while necessary, if traffic doesn't distribute evenly across the carriageways, congestion will appear on one of the carriageways.

I think the high traffic volumes are partially a result of the lack of downtown-bound routes, which means traffic towards downtown has to take the 401 first to get to a north-south route. The same problem is with the I-635 in Dallas. They just use the bypass to get to another downtown-bound route.
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Old November 3rd, 2010, 07:09 PM   #1784
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
I think the high traffic volumes are partially a result of the lack of downtown-bound routes, which means traffic towards downtown has to take the 401 first to get to a north-south route. The same problem is with the I-635 in Dallas. They just use the bypass to get to another downtown-bound route.
According to Metropolitan Toronto Technical Transportation Planning Committee, 52% of commuters use Highway 401 to get to downtown Toronto. That's an insane number.

As for capacity improvements, our ministry of Transportation is planning on improving the Highway 400/401 interchange which is part of the 401's busiest segment. Construction won't start until at least 2015 though.
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Old November 3rd, 2010, 09:31 PM   #1785
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I have always been in favour of a balanced approach between highways and mass transit, but a 24 lane wide freeway is way beyond that balance for me. That is just asinine!

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Old November 3rd, 2010, 09:49 PM   #1786
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There is a lightrail in that corridor in Phoenix.

However, the 24-lane section is just a few miles long, as over 1 million people are dependent on that single section of I-10 for their travels to downtown Phoenix or other locations in the metro area. If you think about it, 430.000 vpd = ~ 215.000 individual vehicles = ~ 258.000 people, just 25% of the people in that area will actually use that section of Interstate 10 for commuting, shopping, recreation, etc.

I don't think you can "enforce" a balance between mass transit or roads though. People who like that idea believe too much in a perfect world. Canada is a free country, where people fortunately can decide themselves which mode of transport they prefer.
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Old November 3rd, 2010, 11:18 PM   #1787
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Quote:
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I don't think you can "enforce" a balance between mass transit or roads though. People who like that idea believe too much in a perfect world. Canada is a free country, where people fortunately can decide themselves which mode of transport they prefer.
A government elected by the general population can chose to invest in public transportation rather than a 24-lane highway. Further, government can institute zoning by-laws that encourage transit friendly development, and limit things like drive-thru's, in an effort to discourage auto dependency.

Not choosing sides, just pointing this out.
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Old November 3rd, 2010, 11:59 PM   #1788
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Yes, usually they start with some policy changes to steer it in the intended direction. However, this usually does not generate the desired effect, so more drastic measures have to be taken, like reducing parking space, less optimal traffic signalling or reducing roadway capacity. You don't need to have a phd or work at NASA to figure out that reducing road capacity by 30% to reduce traffic by 10% eventually turns out to be worse than the before situation.
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Old November 4th, 2010, 12:39 AM   #1789
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^ I agree. A lot of transportation planning has to be proactive for transit. It is hard to retrofit auto-centric development for transit. A lot of cities surrounding Toronto are struggling to implement good transit right now, because these cities (such as Vaughan and Mississauga) were never designed with transit in mind.

I am a roads guy (take a look at my website at the bottom of this post to prove it), but I can speak from experience that the areas surrounding the GTA that are the most auto-centric, are definitely the most congested.
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Old November 4th, 2010, 02:17 AM   #1790
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Quote:
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I am a roads guy (take a look at my website at the bottom of this post to prove it), but I can speak from experience that the areas surrounding the GTA that are the most auto-centric, are definitely the most congested.
Well that's true for almost any city in North America. The suburbs are designed with the automobile in mind while cities have the density to support mass transit.

So the problem comes when those in the suburbs want to get to the city via driving. Since the city invests more in transit than their surrounding communities, their road infrastructure may be lacking. This then causes backups and whatnot that can only be solved by building more roads, upgrading existing corridors or encouraging those in the suburbs to commute via transit.

If it were any other road, I'd be against building a 24 lane mammoth. The fact is that the 401 is the only east-west route in a region of over 8 million and is already the busiest highway in the world. I think making the route more efficient is justified.

This doesn't mean you have to widen the highway... upgrading interchanges to handle higher volumes, be more efficient and safer can work too. For example the major junctions could be built as stacks (427,400,Allen [which could actually be downgraded as the freeway was not completed] and 404/DVP) as that might improve overall traffic flow. Working on the collector-express transfers and whatnot might help too, not to mention adding room for HOV lanes or light rail to run in the highway's right of way like other cities.

Just throwing out ideas here. The solution to the problem is much bigger than simply widening a highway. Changing the way people commute/think is a start. What will happen to automobile use once gas prices are outrageously high and hydrogen fuel cell cars are still unaffordable?
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Last edited by Haljackey; November 4th, 2010 at 03:26 AM.
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Old November 4th, 2010, 05:52 AM   #1791
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Quote:
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So the problem comes when those in the suburbs want to get to the city via driving. Since the city invests more in transit than their surrounding communities, their road infrastructure may be lacking. This then causes backups and whatnot that can only be solved by building more roads, upgrading existing corridors or encouraging those in the suburbs to commute via transit.
I think a hybrid approach works quite well. I don't think that in Toronto's case anything can ever beat the subway when it comes to going downtown efficiently. Lately I noticed we've been having very frequent delays on the subway, but hopefully those are resolved when the new signal system is in place (and the new trains are quite nice too).

While many people are against parking lots in the city, I believe that building high-capacity parking lots at major subway hubs (like Finch, Dowsview) is a good idea. I've become frustrated with the bus recently (due to annoying construction at Finch Station), so I now drive to Downsview Station daily, park my car there, and then take the subway to work (I would never ever drive downtown to work).

I would focus on this approach, while improving the public transit in the city itself. I think that the suburbs are too sparse to be effectively served by public transport. I'm not saying that I'm against development of public transport in the GTA, but the reality is that in most areas outside of Toronto proper, the car remains the most convenient choice and that won't change anytime soon.

Quote:
This doesn't mean you have to widen the highway... upgrading interchanges to handle higher volumes, be more efficient and safer can work too. For example the major junctions could be built as stacks (427,400,Allen [which could actually be downgraded as the freeway was not completed] and 404/DVP) as that might improve overall traffic flow. Working on the collector-express transfers and whatnot might help too, not to mention adding room for HOV lanes or light rail to run in the highway's right of way like other cities.
They should really do something about the 404/DVP/401 interchange. That's one of the biggest choke points in the entire freeway system. I've taken the 404 toward the DVP (around 11am) twice in the last 2 years, and I said to myself - never again. From some directions you only have a single-lane ramp serving an insane amount of traffic.

As for downgrading the Allen, I don't see much point, although I wonder if anything can be done about the "left turn hell" onto Eglinton.
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Old November 4th, 2010, 06:09 AM   #1792
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The Highway 401/404/DVP interchange is the busiest junction in Canada, serving over 600,000 vehicles per day. Upgrading this to a stack should be priority.. only 2 lanes of the DVP/404 continue through the interchange and the ramps are low capacity (especially the loop ramps). There's just so many ramps in this junction, plus the 401 collector-express transfers that contribute to it's congestion as well.

The Allen interchange is aging, and was built for something much more than it is now. Removing some ramps in this junction will allow for a wider Highway 401 to pass underneath. For example, only 2 eastbound collector lanes go under the interchange due to a direct eastbound express connector from the Allen. You don't need express lane connections here. There's enough room around the interchange to improve the exchanges to improve overall traffic flow for the 401.

Subway is the way to go for transit in a city like Toronto. All those canceled expressways mean there's increased demand on the surface streets and transit. Going underground is the best way because you're essentially creating a new needed artery. It may be expensive but Toronto has the population, density and demand to support it.

Compare Toronto's highway and transit system to Houston and Madrid, cities of similar population. Houston has gone nuts with highway building while Madrid is more of a hybrid with both an impressive highway and subway system. Toronto on the other hand is lacking in both categories and the blame can be put on a variety of issues.

Just look at my hometown of London, Ontario. Once the hub of Southwestern Ontario, Kitchener-Waterloo has left us in the dust. They built a freeway system while we canceled ours, and now they're getting rapid transit while we don't even have a bus terminal.

Crazy thing is London is still bigger than K-W, even when you factor in the metro area (10th biggest in Canada) but that is going to change soon. My city's edge has been lost on a "do nothing" approach to transportation planning and on a variety of other issues and we're paying the price.


Bleh, getting a bit off topic there... back to Canadian Highways.


Here's a nifty timelapse of Highway 401 near the 404/Don Valley Parkway interchange in Toronto:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIxtmvQZUi4
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Old November 4th, 2010, 08:59 AM   #1793
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The GTA should take some pointers form the DC region. The DC region over the past 2 decades has been slowly switching form Auto-Centric to Transit Oriented. Theres only so many highways and lanes you can build. You need to improve the inner Toronto Transit and Expand the Go Regional Rail system. Most North American Cities are starting to move away form Auto-Centric and to Transit Oriented , Toronto is one of a few cities and regions that isn't. LA , Vancouver , Omaha , DC , Calgary , Miami , Baltimore , Montreal all are slowly move back to there Urban cores. Expanding Go Regional Rail system can really help the GTA solve some of the Traffic nightmares on the 401 , 427 , 403 , QEW....
Look at those 2 videos and see if that could work in the GTA.




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Old November 4th, 2010, 06:19 PM   #1794
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The Sea-to-Sky highway is a joke when compared with other mountain hugging highways. No tunnels, no elevated portions. All they did is chip away at the mountain side and pave. They spent the bare minimum on it and thats why there are still portions of the highway with traffic signals and 1 lane instead of 2. You can't even really call it a highway.
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Old November 4th, 2010, 06:22 PM   #1795
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The DC region over the past 2 decades has been slowly switching form Auto-Centric to Transit Oriented.
Stop advertising these 5 sq mile projects as if they are changing the whole Northeast.
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Old November 4th, 2010, 08:32 PM   #1796
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...at least it's a beginning. I wouldn't be as pessimistic. Of course, the US and Canada aren't smart growth's paradise but somehow everything has to get started. And I am also strongly convinced that if regional transit in the GTA would be constantly improved it would have an impact on travel patterns. Sure, density in the suburban areas is not transit-adequate but if you massively invest in transferiums/p+r/b+r projects - where would be the problem?
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Old November 4th, 2010, 10:52 PM   #1797
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Stop advertising these 5 sq mile projects as if they are changing the whole Northeast.
I'm not , i'm comparing to very similar regions. Its not 5sq , more like 300 SQ mi of changing sprawl.
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Old November 5th, 2010, 01:40 AM   #1798
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There is a lightrail in that corridor in Phoenix.

However, the 24-lane section is just a few miles long, as over 1 million people are dependent on that single section of I-10 for their travels to downtown Phoenix or other locations in the metro area. If you think about it, 430.000 vpd = ~ 215.000 individual vehicles = ~ 258.000 people, just 25% of the people in that area will actually use that section of Interstate 10 for commuting, shopping, recreation, etc.

I don't think you can "enforce" a balance between mass transit or roads though. People who like that idea believe too much in a perfect world. Canada is a free country, where people fortunately can decide themselves which mode of transport they prefer.
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Old November 5th, 2010, 06:00 AM   #1799
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The Sea-to-Sky highway is a joke when compared with other mountain hugging highways. No tunnels, no elevated portions. All they did is chip away at the mountain side and pave. They spent the bare minimum on it and thats why there are still portions of the highway with traffic signals and 1 lane instead of 2. You can't even really call it a highway.
Now you're just being annoying. I was seriously thinking of just ignoring this, but why miss out on some entertainment... What other mountain hugging highways? Why can't you call it a highway? Why would you spend more than necessary on this upgrade? What do you mean by elevated portions? I've driven this highway about 40 to 50 times in the last year... I've heard nothing but good feedback from other people on the improvements. It is one of the most enjoyable driving experiences, which I'd put alongside the Icefields Parkway in Alberta. No, it is not an 8 lane, 20 billion dollar autobahn with cameras and special lighting everywhere, but do we really need that? "All they did is chip away at the mountain side and pave." <<< They did not just "chip away", they actually had to build out in many areas.
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Old November 5th, 2010, 08:04 AM   #1800
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Exactly, it is actually a really nice highway relative to its daily usage, and as shown in the video many of the junctions were built as grade separated interchanges. To have built it any larger than is would have been a huge jump in cost. Such money has been better spent on upgrading other, more heavily used highways in our province, such as the major upgrades being done to the 97 in the Okanagan, the #1 near Kamloops and between Golden & the Alberta border and the 97 upgrades between Cache Creek and Prince George.

These are all expensive projects involving the construction of many bridges, tunnels, several new interchanges and the blasting away of entire mountain sides (and in a few cases blasting right through entire hills).

Again, BC's highways are improving everyday, and since highway construction is primarily a Provincial initiative in Canada, we are doing pretty good for our relatively small population (4.5 million) vs. our incredibly rugged landscape.
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