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Old December 6th, 2009, 12:42 AM   #1361
ChrisZwolle
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I agree with this statement, but just how long will the 401 retain this title? There's crazy traffic in eastern Asia, especially in the larger Chinese cities. Tons of highways are being built and every one becomes clogged with traffic as soon as they open.
At traffic volumes over 400,000, generally over 14 - 16 lanes are needed. There are few motorway-equivalents in Asia that sport over 8 lanes, I know of some 10-lane expressways in South Korea, and China probably has some 10-lane Expressways. But it's unlikely much wider roads are build in the future.

To top the 401's traffic, at least 18 lanes are needed. I think Asia will rather build some more parallel motorways with lower volumes each, which I also think is better to do. Spread out the traffic, instead of bundling it along one corridor like in Toronto. This gives the network a much better redundancy against disruptions (lane closures, incidents, traffic jams etc.)

I think cities like Houston or Phoenix have a greater "opportunity" to overtake the 401 than any city in Asia in the near future. Different mindsetting, different economy, different demographics & housing and different transportation patterns (subways).
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Old December 6th, 2009, 01:33 AM   #1362
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Many times I heard that drivers of North American continent love driving anywhere but right hand side lane, your pictures apart from perfect settings, definitely confirm what I have been told. I even noticed an overtaking truck on 3rd lane.
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Old December 6th, 2009, 04:49 AM   #1363
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Yeah it's quite common, though mostly in the huge sections with many lanes. They usually become so busy that drivers just drive wherever there is more space. Overtaking on the right in these sections (for example, on Toronto's wide section) is also usually almost a "no-choice" situation. If I'm in the left lane and it's moving slower I will move to the right and overtake, even though I try not to do it usually.

But on the rural sections of the 401 (usually having 2 lanes) and the other freeways I actually don't see this as a big problem. Most people do drive in the right-hand lane and overtake on the left.

You're right about the trucks though. Sometimes a truck will decide to overtake another truck on a 2-lane carriageway and won't complete the move for like 5 minutes. That's VERY annoying and should be illegal.

Part of the problem I think (in addition to driving skills, which are also a reason) is that there aren't that many such wide motorways in Europe. The driving dynamics on them change somewhat, even though ideally the speeds should still range from fastest to slowest as you go from the left to the right. I noticed a similar thing in the US. Throughout most of my drive to NYC, which had 2 lanes in each direction, I didn't notice a lot of problems (only a few drivers hogged the left lane). But once we entered the wider urban sections, everything changed.

Nice pictures by the way! Best coverage of the 401 so far!
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Old December 6th, 2009, 05:00 AM   #1364
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401 is one monster of a highway. There's like 10+ lanes or so when you drive in Toronto and there's STILL huge traffic jams.
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Old December 6th, 2009, 12:48 PM   #1365
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I love highways/motorways and all but I cant help but think that a high speed rail line next to the 401 would do a lot of good.
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Old December 6th, 2009, 02:08 PM   #1366
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Very nice photos from 401 motorway; how many km in distance is that motorway?
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Old December 6th, 2009, 02:14 PM   #1367
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Highway 401 is 815 kilometers long.
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Old December 6th, 2009, 07:25 PM   #1368
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Don't like tolls on the 407? Well, boo-hoo
5 December 2009
The Globe and Mail

The 407 ETR is the road some people love to hate. The Liberal government of Premier Dalton McGuinty spent years fighting a bitter court battle over 407 tolls. Drivers often grumble about them or even refuse to pay them, though the road is a private enterprise and drivers take it by choice. Exactly why the 407 excites such loathing is something of a mystery. The ETR, or Express Toll Route, is a transportation marvel. When it opened in 1997, it was the world's first all-electronic, barrier-free toll highway. There are no booths to hold you up. An electronic eye reads your licence plate and bills you later. For regular users with a transponder in the car, billing is automatic.

The road is sleek, well-maintained and often blissfully open, a vivid contrast to the crowded, crumbling government roads all around it. Since a private consortium paid the provincial government $3.1-billion for it a decade ago, the 407 has spent another $1.18-billion on new ramps, interchanges and lane expansions. Despite the tolls, 375,000 drivers travel it every work day. Yet some people still insist on seeing it as a sort of dark conspiracy to fleece the city's drivers.

Witness the latest fuss over tolls. Dodging them is no better than hopping a subway turnstile. It's stealing, plain and simple. But it is the 407 that takes the heat. Critics complain about how the 407's parent company pursues drivers who fail to pay up. Under an agreement with the provincial government, drivers who don't pay can have their licence-plate renewal denied. The Toronto Star says that “may be the most treacherous double-cross ever foisted on Ontario taxpayers” (though it has been repeatedly upheld by the courts).

The critics are even more exercised over the 407's insistence that it can pursue drivers for up to 15 years for the amounts they fail to pay. Provincial law says that companies must start legal proceedings to collect on unpaid bills within two years of the initial billing – unless they have an agreement with the debtor. That is a problem for the 407. As an open-access road, it can't stop dodging up front. It must try to collect from dodgers afterward. As a result, it has been stiffed by quite a few drivers over the years, especially during the five-year period when the province was childishly refusing to uphold its contractual agreement to halt licence-plate renewals for dodgers.

Putting a two-year limitation on pursuing dodgers would prevent the 407 from recovering the missing money. So every 407 invoice contains a highlighted, boldface message warning users that the company reserves the right to keep after them for up to 15 years if they don't pay. It says that each trip the driver takes on the 407 after the billing date constitutes the driver's agreement.

That's an outrage, says the Star, condemning the 407's “bully-boy billing practices.” Merely receiving a note on an invoice then taking a drive on the 407 doesn't bind the driver, it argues. And interest charges on unpaid bills can add up to thousands of dollars over 15 years.

Well, boo-hoo. Drivers can easily avoid being chased through the courts by the 407 through the simple expedient of paying their bills. A letter to the editor in the Hamilton Spectator put it nicely: “Let's get this straight – we use a toll road, a road clearly marked as a toll road. We get a bill. We don't pay it. We use the same toll road. And then we complain about being pursued for payment?”

Toll roads are so novel in Ontario that the road operators, not the dodgers, are the ones who get tarred as thieves. It's a twisted way of seeing things and it's going to have to change. With governments strapped for funds, we are going to need more tolls to pay for building and maintaining city roads and for underwriting better transit. The success of the 407 shows the way. Let's celebrate, not condemn, it.
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Old December 6th, 2009, 07:32 PM   #1369
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Geez what a babies... If you don't like paying tolls, don't use the toll road. I really don't see the problem here. If you refuse to pay for a service delivered (=road), you ought to be pursued. You don't shoplift either, do you?
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Old December 6th, 2009, 09:03 PM   #1370
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
Geez what a babies... If you don't like paying tolls, don't use the toll road. I really don't see the problem here. If you refuse to pay for a service delivered (=road), you ought to be pursued. You don't shoplift either, do you?
Well...

I think what we're seeing here is the degree to which drivers see driving with impunity as an inalienable human right, even to the point of suspending personal and societal taboos against thievery and fraud. That attitude spreads far beyond Ontario and far beyond the issue of tolls.

I've seen it countless times. Judges ignore blatant misconduct by roadbuilding agencies, juries allow property owners to be mistreated, voters balk at fuel tax increases even in vastly undertaxed jurisdictions like the one of which I happen to be a citizen, all in the interest of keeping driving cheap and free of societal responsibility. Moreover, these attitudes cut across the political spectrum, at least here in the US. For every stereotypical transit-loving, tree-hugging lefty there's another lefty who wants nothing more that cheap gas and free roads for the cars of the oppressed working class.

So, while the attitudes expressed about toll evasion on the 407 are appalling, they're far from unexpected, at least to me. It's all a part of the car culture.
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Old December 7th, 2009, 05:39 AM   #1371
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Well, driving on the 407 is very expensive compared to other places I've driven in (US and Israel), so I definitely don't like it. Plus, it's the only toll highway in our freeway network in the Toronto area, which happens to be the only way to drive on a freeway north of the 401. Instead, I just take Highway 7, which is an at-grade expressway that takes much longer (well, actually not always that much longer).

HOWEVER, that being said, the articles posted indeed make no sense to me. "Don't like 407 billing? Stay off the highway, owner says" - well, duh
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Old December 7th, 2009, 05:30 PM   #1372
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The concept of a toll highway is fairly new to Canada. This is a stark contrast to the US, where there are a lot of them already. When the government is strapped for cash, the private sector's involvement is probably better than 'do nothing'. There will always be a price to pay for convenience and a shorter journey.
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Old December 22nd, 2009, 05:27 AM   #1373
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I think the problem isn't that some people are surprised to receive bills for driving on toll roads (like the strawman argument the G&M presents, which I'm willing to bet was paid for by the 407), but that people are allegedly being billed for trips they did not take, or that they are receiving bills from several years ago now with jacked up interest. Also that thanks to Harris, the 407 does not have to prove they used the highway in court all while denying plate renewal to these people.
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Old December 22nd, 2009, 03:10 PM   #1374
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The 407 is not too bad. You may get billed for using it, but you pay less for your car when it comes to wear and tear items. I drive stick shift car and brakes can last me to 3-3.5years. The winter drive on 401 is a nightmare.
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Old December 22nd, 2009, 03:17 PM   #1375
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ETR407

Love the toll ramps without stopping at the booth to pay.


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Old December 30th, 2009, 10:46 PM   #1376
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Since I'm not a morning person, this thing (along with the lax speed enforcement - 140km/h flow speed in the left lane FTW ) is a lifesaver! After a long day doing deliveries through suburban traffic, I usually take it going home as well since I don't feel up to fighting all the gridlock. However this time, I usually go the speed limit (100km/h) in the right lane and get off early and take side streets back home.
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Old January 1st, 2010, 06:07 AM   #1377
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I have a tendency to see more OPP patroling the 407 than the 401, so I rarely go 140 km/h on the ETR!
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Old January 2nd, 2010, 12:34 PM   #1378
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An example of a 2-lane freeway in Canada (in Nova Scotia):

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Old January 2nd, 2010, 12:43 PM   #1379
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401 is the worst highway in the world! ..especially the bit from Islington to Dixie.

Quote:
Originally Posted by YU-AMC View Post
The 407 is not too bad. You may get billed for using it, but you pay less for your car when it comes to wear and tear items. I drive stick shift car and brakes can last me to 3-3.5years. The winter drive on 401 is a nightmare.
How does the 407 affect the vehicle any differently than other highways? Is the build-material of higher-quality?

By the way, is it just me or does the vehicle always whistles constantly when driven on the 407? I've driven atleast 5 different vehicles on it, and I always hear that constant whistle.

Last edited by _BPS_; January 2nd, 2010 at 12:49 PM.
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Old January 3rd, 2010, 03:51 AM   #1380
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I have a tendency to see more OPP patroling the 407 than the 401, so I rarely go 140 km/h on the ETR!
I don't usually see them during the rush hours, more midday. Even then, it isn't too often unless they are trying to make their quotas.

And like I said, in the left lane 140km/h is usually the FLOW of traffic, meaning it is the safest speed to travel (and it is unlikely you will get pulled over). If it weren't for McGuinty's guilty until proven innocent "stunt driving" law, safe bet it would be even faster... Even then, at times I've had drivers pass me on the right while I was going 140km/h in the left lane.

And like I said, I only go that speed in the mornings and if I'm running really behind. Usually in the mornings I go 120-130km/h, and the rest of the time I drive about 100km/h to save gas and wear on my car.

The way this highway is designed, the speed limit should be at least 110-120km/h, if not higher.

Quote:
Originally Posted by _BPS_
401 is the worst highway in the world! ..especially the bit from Islington to Dixie.
It isn't that bad, just need to know how to drive it. Having your mirrors properly adjusted to ensure safe lane changes is a necessity, and noobs can stay in the left lane for the most part to avoid having to change lanes due to lanes ending or turning into exit lanes is a good tip as well.

Another pro tip: I regularly do pick ups and deliveries between Vaughan and Mississauga, and if it is jammed between Islington and Dixie, taking the 409 to the 427 and back down to the 401 is a great way to get around the congestion

Quote:
How does the 407 affect the vehicle any differently than other highways? Is the build-material of higher-quality?

By the way, is it just me or does the vehicle always whistles constantly when driven on the 407? I've driven atleast 5 different vehicles on it, and I always hear that constant whistle.
Well during rush hour, it moves infinitely better than the 401 - which going eastbound can be jammed into a giant parking lot! During the rest of the time though, it wouldn't make much of a difference. Also if you drive at higher speed flow on the 407, you could be doing more wear than driving the more moderate speed flow on the 401.

And that whistle I think is caused by the material used, concrete rather than asphalt. It can get annoying, but most of the time I think it sounds cool - like my car is traveling at super-sonic speeds or something
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