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Old April 7th, 2017, 06:30 AM   #4141
xzmattzx
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I've always loved the views of Toronto from the Gardiner, but driving from Buffalo, Port Colborne, St. Catharines, etc, I've always seen the city from the southwest. I've only ever taken the expressway to Yonge Street. So seeing the city from the other perspective is surprisingly new to me, and very nice!
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Old April 7th, 2017, 07:08 PM   #4142
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Growing up I remember driving in to the city from the DVP (grew up northeast of Toronto) and counting the big buildings downtown as we took the curve up onto the elevated freeway.. Back when you could easily count the big skyscrapers downtown, because there were only 5 or 6. I used to name them by their colours (Red one, green one, white one, black one).

I was clearly an SSC member from an early age!

Going off topic a bit here, but its easy to forget how much Toronto has grown in the last decade and how much change the condo boom has really had on the city. Even in 2003 or 2004, the city was just completely different. Its crazy how fast it really changed, and continues to change.
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Old April 8th, 2017, 01:30 AM   #4143
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I am uploading these for the benefit of people who may not have experience of what it can be like to drive in the winter. Southern Ontario was hit by a late season winter snowstorm overnight, causing some pretty treacherous driving conditions for the morning commute:

Although it is not abundantly clear due the snow and ice that has been frozen to the signage, the big yellow sign to the right warns drivers of winter driving hazards on this road:




There is a thick layer of ice that has frozen to the asphalt... This snow storm was preceded by a heavy rain storm, so road crews weren't able to pre-treat the road with salt before the onslaught of snow:


This light was red:


Vitim #1:




Victim #2:


There was a third victim in the ditch further along, but I didn't snap a photo


The drive home in the afternoon was far more pleasant:
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Old April 10th, 2017, 04:45 PM   #4144
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MTO is currently looking for a service provider to design a tolling system for the HOV lanes along the 404 north of Toronto from the 401 northerly to Stouffville Road. This is just a consultant assignment, so actual implementation would be several years down the road (which makes sense as the current HOV lanes don't get anywhere near to Stouffville Road.

Quote:
Project Length/Location
20km/Highway 404 from Highway 401 to Stouffville Road

Project Description
The scope of this TPM assignment is to obtain one (1) engineering service provider to complete the detail design for Managed Lane tolling systems on 20 km of Highway 404. This Assignment includes the implementation of transponder subsystems, Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) camera subsystems, Digital Video Auditing System (DVAS) camera subsystems and High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Message Sign (HMS) subsystems.
MTO plans on delivering this project in two contracts, one at the end of 2018 and and the other at the beginning of 2020
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Old April 10th, 2017, 06:34 PM   #4145
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Highway 401

Ontario issued a RFQ for the expansion of Highway 401 between Mississauga and Milton.
Widening Highway 401 to Keep People Moving

Ontario is creating jobs and keeping people moving by widening 18 kilometers of Highway 401 from the Credit River in Mississauga to Regional Road 25 in Milton.

The Highway 401 Expansion project includes adding HOV lanes in each direction and widening the existing six lane configuration to:

* Twelve lanes from the Credit River to Winston Churchill Boulevard
* Ten lanes from Winston Churchill Boulevard to Highway 407 ETR / Highway 401 interchange
* Twelve lanes from Highway 407 ETR / Highway 401 interchange to James Snow Parkway
* Ten lanes from the James Snow Parkway to Regional Road 25

Quick facts:

* The province has issued a Request for Qualifications to design, build and finance the Highway 401 expansion project—the first step in getting construction underway.
* The project is being delivered under Infrastructure Ontario’s Alternative Financing and Procurement model, which transfers risks associated with design, construction and financing of the project to the private sector.
* The average daily traffic for the Highway 401 in the Peel and Halton Region is approximately 108,000 to 188,000 vehicles per day.
Full press release: https://news.ontario.ca/mto/en/2017/...le-moving.html
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Old April 10th, 2017, 06:43 PM   #4146
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So they aren't doing anything about the 407 interchange.. which is going to be a bottleneck in the long term again, just like 427 interchange. Wouldn't a 3 stack interchange solve the problem? I know that the costs will be much higher initially but I don't think we can put a price on congestion on a highway as busy as 401.
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Old April 10th, 2017, 06:54 PM   #4147
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So they aren't doing anything about the 407 interchange.. which is going to be a bottleneck in the long term again, just like 427 interchange. Wouldn't a 3 stack interchange solve the problem? I know that the costs will be much higher initially but I don't think we can put a price on congestion on a highway as busy as 401.
MTO is saying that the 401's five lane cross-section through the 407 interchange will be sufficient from a traffic capacity perspective for the foreseeable future, but I agree, I don't like the disconnected segments of collector lanes either.

Neither the Winston Churchill overpass, the Ninth Line overpass, or the 407 overpasses were built wide enough to support a core-collector configuration. I don't think the MTO ever envisioned the need for such a wide highway as far west in Mississauga. It's an unfortunate lack of fore site, the 407 bridges were only constructed in the late 1990s.
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Old April 10th, 2017, 07:04 PM   #4148
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MTO is saying that the 401's five lane cross-section through the 407 interchange will be sufficient from a traffic capacity perspective for the foreseeable future, but I agree, I don't like the disconnected segments of collector lanes either.

Neither the Winston Churchill overpass, the Ninth Line overpass, or the 407 overpasses were built wide enough to support a core-collector configuration. I don't think the MTO ever envisioned the need for such a wide highway as far west in Mississauga. It's an unfortunate lack of fore site, the 407 bridges were only constructed in the late 1990s.
It's probably sufficient for the next 10-15 years, but by that argument why not make the rest of 401 up to Milton just 10 lanes, as well, since the AADT is similar there as well? With respect to Winston Churchill and 9th line, at least those should be replaced by new bridges that support a collector-express cross section. Unfortunately these half hearted projects are the explanation for the mess that happens at the 427 interchange.
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Old April 10th, 2017, 07:12 PM   #4149
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It's probably sufficient for the next 10-15 years, but by that argument why not make the rest of 401 up to Milton just 10 lanes, as well, since the AADT is similar there as well? With respect to Winston Churchill and 9th line, at least those should be replaced by new bridges that support a collector-express cross section. Unfortunately these half hearted projects are the explanation for the mess that happens at the 427 interchange.
The 407 definitely does siphon off a lot of traffic east of Milton, so I can definitely see the logic in having a narrower cross-section east of the 407 than west of it.

It's worth noting that it's not impossible for the cross-section of the 401 to be revisited again in the future. In 10-15 years (or perhaps, 20-25 years) the bridges that are currently constraining the 401's cross-section will have much less service life remaining than they do now.

Consider for example the Dixon Road and Martin Grove Road underpasses. In the not too distant future, both of those underpasses will need to be replaced. It's not unfathomable, that the cross-section of the 401 will be revisited at that time because of the infrastructure renewal needs.
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Old April 10th, 2017, 07:21 PM   #4150
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Speaking of the 407, I checked the toll rates and they are insane. Almost 60 dollars to drive it end to end without a transponder (even $ 50+ with a transponder...)

Of course few people will drive the entire length, but the extremely high toll rate of up to $ 0.50 per kilometer will make it less useful as a bypass for Toronto. Everybody is priced to the 401. The 401 traffic is often bad of course, but who is willing to spend almost 60 dollars to bypass a traffic jam?
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Old April 10th, 2017, 07:50 PM   #4151
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The rates are increasing fast, its $0.42 / km in peak period now, it was $0.35 only two or three years ago.

But yea, its expensive. it keeps it traffic free though.

Without the transponder its really expensive. $3.90 monthly account fee, $4.10 camera fee, $1.00 highway entry fee, then whatever the milage is. If you are a long distance traveler from outside the area, using the highway to entirely bypass Toronto at rush hour would cost you $59.79 all in. The cheapest travel period is still above $30, and thats a weekend / holiday between 7pm and 11am.

Also, you can't underestimate the level of traffic in Toronto. Coming from the QEW and exiting at the 401 in Oshawa, it could literally take you over 3 hours in the peak period, to travel 100km through the city. With the 407, it cuts that down to an hour.

That said, most people make shorter commute trips on it. Even then, people spend hundreds monthly on the tolls.

A lot of people get 407 coverage as an employment benefit as well.
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Old April 10th, 2017, 08:01 PM   #4152
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Toronto is known for having a notoriously expensive housing market (which is strange considering the available land to develop), and if they use the 407, that's an additional burden that weighs substantially in the cost of living.

In Europe most of the privatized toll roads charge around $ 0.15 - 0.18 per kilometer (not counting bridges, tunnels, short segments, etc.) That's a lot less than the 407 and people already find that expensive for incidental long-distance trips. $ 60 would almost get me across France on toll roads...
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Old April 10th, 2017, 08:07 PM   #4153
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
Toronto is known for having a notoriously expensive housing market (which is strange considering the available land to develop)
Not when you realize the 'Golden Horseshoe' (greenbelt) is a thing:


Bigger and better map (but ruins page lay-out) : https://voiceofniagara.files.wordpre..._map-best1.jpg
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Old April 10th, 2017, 08:26 PM   #4154
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
Speaking of the 407, I checked the toll rates and they are insane. Almost 60 dollars to drive it end to end without a transponder (even $ 50+ with a transponder...)

Of course few people will drive the entire length, but the extremely high toll rate of up to $ 0.50 per kilometer will make it less useful as a bypass for Toronto. Everybody is priced to the 401. The 401 traffic is often bad of course, but who is willing to spend almost 60 dollars to bypass a traffic jam?
Southern Ontario is definitely not the most affordable place to live...

One of the things that is worth noting however, is that by Canadian standards, Ontario has comparatively lower personal income taxes relative to some of the other neighbouring provinces. In neighbouring Quebec, for example, income tax rates are almost twice as high. I think it's for that reason, that Ontario has adopted the user pay model more than other locations in Canada.
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Old April 10th, 2017, 08:29 PM   #4155
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonysnob View Post
The 407 definitely does siphon off a lot of traffic east of Milton, so I can definitely see the logic in having a narrower cross-section east of the 407 than west of it.

It's worth noting that it's not impossible for the cross-section of the 401 to be revisited again in the future. In 10-15 years (or perhaps, 20-25 years) the bridges that are currently constraining the 401's cross-section will have much less service life remaining than they do now.

Consider for example the Dixon Road and Martin Grove Road underpasses. In the not too distant future, both of those underpasses will need to be replaced. It's not unfathomable, that the cross-section of the 401 will be revisited at that time because of the infrastructure renewal needs.
The 407 bridges are 20 odd year old now, so even in another 20 years they will stay have around 40 years lifespan remaining, given the design standards of last few decades. But yes, it does become easier to argue for replacing the bridges at that time than today. I think the 10 lane cross section should hold for at least 10-15 years.

Do we know how much this entire widening is going to cost? I'd suspect there are several bridge replacements involved. I would expect it to be 500-700m.
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Old April 10th, 2017, 08:53 PM   #4156
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The 407 bridges are 20 odd year old now, so even in another 20 years they will stay have around 40 years lifespan remaining, given the design standards of last few decades. But yes, it does become easier to argue for replacing the bridges at that time than today. I think the 10 lane cross section should hold for at least 10-15 years.
Absolutely a fair point.

My point really was that the realities do change as time goes on, and what may not make sense today, may make sense tomorrow, but you're right, even in 20 years, there should still be plenty of service life left in the bridges at the 407 interchange, even if there are rehabilitative costs associated with them at that time.

Just as a side point, depending on whatever happens with GTA West, that could have implications to the 407/401 interchange as well.

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Do we know how much this entire widening is going to cost? I'd suspect there are several bridge replacements involved. I would expect it to be 500-700m.
MTO doesn't release cost estimates for projects prior to contract award for fear of influencing the bidding process. The contract value to widen 12km of the 410 in Brampton is $169,000,000, so the idea of this project costing $400,000,000 to $500,000,000 seems reasonable to me, but that's just a ballpark.
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Old April 10th, 2017, 09:18 PM   #4157
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Yes, Toronto has quite restrictive land use policies designed to prevent sprawl. Combined with high population and economic growth, and you get high prices. Toronto's population and economic growth is on par with many american sunbelt cities, far and above the rustbelt areas that surround the city south of the border.

of course with Toronto being the economic capital of one of the wealthiest nations on earth, it naturally has a ton of money in the city. Your average retail worker couldn't afford the highway, but that bank exec certianly could. median household income is around $75,000. For dual income households working full time, its probably well north of 100k.

Finally, its in CAD too, not USD. That $0.42 pricetag is €0.30, while if it was in USD, it would be €0.40.

The 407 is also the only toll road in the country other than a small stretch in Nova Scotia, which is planned to be eliminated in the next couple of years. You can quite literally drive anywhere in the country for free beyond a few bridge tolls.

anybody know what the Hurontario-Credit river 401 widening cost was? that would probably be a pretty good indicator.

Edit: it cost $81 million for 2.8km, so probably $500-$600 million to do it out to Milton.

Last edited by Innsertnamehere; April 10th, 2017 at 09:27 PM.
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Old April 10th, 2017, 11:12 PM   #4158
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Not when you realize the 'Golden Horseshoe' (greenbelt) is a thing:
The Golden Horseshoe is separate from the greenbelt. It's the name of the megalopolis that entails the greater Toronto area, Hamilton, the Niagara Region and Oshawa, so think of it like Randstad in the Netherlands.

It is true that we are running out of room but a combination of greed from the side of real estate developers (since single family detached homes rake in a lot of profit) and many home buyers in Canada not being able to fathom at all living in anything less than a single family detached home, we are still seeing greenfield development for such type of housing. The Greenbelt Plan was supposed to be a lesson learned and having a radical shift towards medium and high density development as little as 5 years ago would've done wonders but nope
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Old April 11th, 2017, 02:02 AM   #4159
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it was a radical shift in regulation, but the people don't want that as you say. I wouldn't live in a house with less than four walls either. Why should the people be denied artificially what they want to have?

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Southern Ontario is definitely not the most affordable place to live...

One of the things that is worth noting however, is that by Canadian standards, Ontario has comparatively lower personal income taxes relative to some of the other neighbouring provinces. In neighbouring Quebec, for example, income tax rates are almost twice as high. I think it's for that reason, that Ontario has adopted the user pay model more than other locations in Canada.
For a data point, my income taxes declined by approx 3 500 $ annually when I moved from Quebec to Ontario. But my municipal taxes increased by approx 1 900 $ (on a smaller lot size), and car insurance by 1 500 $ too But like we know, muncipalities in Ontario have a lot more responsibility, for major roads for example (Hamilton and Toronto both have municipal freeways, while Montreal used to only maintain a small part of A-10, which they have demolished for stupidity , and Quebec city has no freeways under its authority AFAIK)
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Last edited by Kanadzie; April 11th, 2017 at 02:08 AM.
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Old April 11th, 2017, 08:50 PM   #4160
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greenbelt is a wildly popular policy, actually. Something like 85-90% support in the GTA.
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