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Highway Expansion

borgo100

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Yeah, except there just isn't any room in the downtown core for another freeway. Spadina is definitely dead, the Annex is there. An extension of Black Creek drive would cut through Parkdale-Swansea, making it an even worse area than it already is. I mean, where would one put a freeway in downtown toronto??

under it?
 

kEiThZ

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Yeah, except there just isn't any room in the downtown core for another freeway. Spadina is definitely dead, the Annex is there. An extension of Black Creek drive would cut through Parkdale-Swansea, making it an even worse area than it already is. I mean, where would one put a freeway in downtown toronto??

Not from downtown....but to downtown. Nobody should be using downtown as thoroughfare anyway. In this case, a vacant corridor is available and it's wide enough to handle an expressway, transit lines and hydro wires. Leaving it as be is just a waste! Aside from the Scarborough Highlands, the report gives some very sensible ideas on how to finish the Richview Expressway. I say build both and toll them. They might even take some pressure off the Gardiner.
 
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Whoaccio

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^ That idea isn't so bad in and of itself. I mean, rationalizing the 'unpleasant but necessary' infrastructure to one corridor from two is logical. I wonder why city planners in the 1950s didn't just build on top of the rail corridor.

The stupid part is that it is a cable stayed bridge with some Dubai-esque park underneath and a gadget bahn LRT with, apparently, no connections with or to anything. I don't even know if a cable stayed bridge could hold such beefy spans, most of the ones I tend to come across are 4-6 lanes tops. And, after looking through their website obsessively, I can't figure out how they intend to fit an off ramp from that bad boy. Not only would they have cable spans flanking the traffic, but the previously mentioned gadget bahn.

EDIT: Though I do like the idea of habitable pylons on the viaduct. Something positively Blade Runner about it.
 

dunkalunk

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If we actually get on top of electrifying that corridor (in a high speed rail scheme for example), perhaps building on top of it wouldn't be such a bad idea. New York did it, but it also had to ban all diesel trains into Penn station.

As for the viaduct, its not entirely a bad idea. its definitely visionary in the sense that it tries to fit all of these land uses into one area. A rapid transit line along the viaduct, maybe, but bike and pedestrian lanes including a hanging garden and pylon condos? It seems this would only frivolously add to the engineering challenge.

What would be cool though is if we lined the bridge deck with LEDs, hence creating the world's longest news ticker. Whee!
 

MisterF

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Ah yes, the Toronto viaduct rears its ugly head on skycraper forums from time to time. How they'd build the massive foundations needed for a cable stayed bridge over a major rail corridor (perpendicular to the tracks, no less) is beyond me.

To me building another highway or two seems logical in the core, given that we are now going to extend the existing highways and development 60 km in each direction. No matter our resolve to take millions of cars off the road, and I do believe they will largely succeed at this, we will still need some new highway capacity. Metrolinx's own targets for trip share will continue to generate an immense amount of new traffic. However, that's to be mitigated by smarter road design, apparently, and no significant new roads. To me that does not add up. I am skeptical that a few roundabouts and better designed on-ramps are going to dramatically improve traffic. And I am also interested to see how they'll pull off the implementation of roundabouts given this land's notable unfamiliarity and possible hostility to the concept.
Roundabouts have been shown to be much safer than the signalized intersections they replace all over the United States, another land with a notable unfamiliarity to the concept. People will adapt to roundabouts just fine.

More on topic, your views on highway expansion downtown seem familiar. Then I noticed we've already debated the topic in this thread. My last posts on the topic were in November - posts 74 (a reply to one of your posts) and 78, neither of which have been rebutted. That seemed to be the end of it, but with this post you've gone right back to the beginning of that conversation. I'd be interested in seeing a rebuttal to my two previous posts on the topic.

Newsflash: growth is possible without highway construction. Your argument is highly illogical. Growth is happening and will continue to happen. Georgina would continue to grow even without new housing construction due to transition of existing cottage stock into commuter dwellings. Growth is equally likely (and there'd be pressures for more widespread growth) with road widenings...4 lanes on Leslie, Woodbine, Warden, Hwy 48, etc., would also pave the way to growth. An additional 250K people would be extremely unlikely without a new highway, but we're talking about more like 25K people in Georgina, a few new subdivisions (most of this growth could be handled in one concession block, Woodbine/Glenwoods/Queensway/Ravenshoe). A 4 (or 6) lane Woodbine and a 4 lane Leslie would also be enough to trigger Queensville's development plans.
I'm not taking a position on the 404 extension, but it's been proven that highway expansions do accelerate growth in outlying areas. Obviously Georgina will grow with or without the 404, but it'll grow more if the highway is built, and there will be more people driving if it's built. The same applies to highways in already built-up areas - new urban highways induce traffic even without new development (although that's more a response to Whoaccio's post).
 

scarberiankhatru

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I'm not taking a position on the 404 extension, but it's been proven that highway expansions do accelerate growth in outlying areas. Obviously Georgina will grow with or without the 404, but it'll grow more if the highway is built, and there will be more people driving if it's built. The same applies to highways in already built-up areas - new urban highways induce traffic even without new development (although that's more a response to Whoaccio's post).

Not quite. If the rather strict greenbelt laws are effective, growth in Georgina or East Gwillimbury isn't a case of 'if' but a case of 'when.' The 404 extension would speed up growth but there won't actually be more growth in the end...which is the only amount of growth that matters. Same endpoint, different time frames. There'll actually be pressure for more total growth with multiple road widenings in lieu of a 404 extension since that would bring better road access to a larger swath of northern York Region, and not just the two main sites slated for development (Queensville and Keswick). If Leslie and Woodbine are widened and no other road improvements take place, development at those two growth sites can proceed apace (though I wonder if the rumoured university is more of a prerequisite than the highway in Queensville).

There won't be more people driving on a highway to Georgina compared to those that would drive on widened arterials...the theory that added road capacity will generate trips that fill that capacity does not apply to areas where everyone already drives and where neither transit/walking nor travel-inhibitingly bad congestion will have a significant impact on auto trips.
 

kEiThZ

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Roundabouts have been shown to be much safer than the signalized intersections they replace all over the United States, another land with a notable unfamiliarity to the concept. People will adapt to roundabouts just fine.

I am skeptical. However, since I love roundabouts, I am not going to complain about their deployments. I do feel sorry for bicyclists though.

More on topic, your views on highway expansion downtown seem familiar. Then I noticed we've already debated the topic in this thread. My last posts on the topic were in November - posts 74 (a reply to one of your posts) and 78, neither of which have been rebutted. That seemed to be the end of it, but with this post you've gone right back to the beginning of that conversation. I'd be interested in seeing a rebuttal to my two previous posts on the topic.

Are you getting me and Whoaccio mixed up?
 

MisterF

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Not quite. If the rather strict greenbelt laws are effective, growth in Georgina or East Gwillimbury isn't a case of 'if' but a case of 'when.' The 404 extension would speed up growth but there won't actually be more growth in the end...which is the only amount of growth that matters. Same endpoint, different time frames. There'll actually be pressure for more total growth with multiple road widenings in lieu of a 404 extension since that would bring better road access to a larger swath of northern York Region, and not just the two main sites slated for development (Queensville and Keswick). If Leslie and Woodbine are widened and no other road improvements take place, development at those two growth sites can proceed apace (though I wonder if the rumoured university is more of a prerequisite than the highway in Queensville).

There won't be more people driving on a highway to Georgina compared to those that would drive on widened arterials...the theory that added road capacity will generate trips that fill that capacity does not apply to areas where everyone already drives and where neither transit/walking nor travel-inhibitingly bad congestion will have a significant impact on auto trips.
Highway expansion doesn't rule out arterial road expansion. If anything highways encourage bigger arterial roads because of how they concentrate traffic. The theory that added road capacity encourage more driving does apply to areas where everyone already drives. Not because people are switching to cars from other modes, but because more road space encourages more trips and longer trips.

I am skeptical. However, since I love roundabouts, I am not going to complain about their deployments. I do feel sorry for bicyclists though.



Are you getting me and Whoaccio mixed up?
Oops, sorry about that. To respond to your post, I think more highways going downtown are unnecessary and a poor use of resources compared to improvements to rail transit. New highways in the suburbs don't necessarily lead to more traffic downtown. Downtown traffic has stayed relatively stable for the last 40 years, and in that time downtown has grown substantially.

The research on roundabout safety is easy to find, especially that American study that shows how much safety has improved at converted intersections. The jury seems to be out for pedestrian and cyclist safety in multi-lane roundabouts, but single lane roundabouts are safer for all modes.
 

Hipster Duck

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^
The jitneys could be a great idea. I'm always surprised nobody takes it seriously as an option.

Me too. I personally think that they're the transportation mode of the not-to-distant future, offering the equity and capacity of public transit with the flexibility of the private automobile. They're considered "third world", I guess, which is why we're pushing 30 km long streetcar lines to underprivileged neighbourhoods, instead.
 

scarberiankhatru

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Highway expansion doesn't rule out arterial road expansion. If anything highways encourage bigger arterial roads because of how they concentrate traffic. The theory that added road capacity encourage more driving does apply to areas where everyone already drives. Not because people are switching to cars from other modes, but because more road space encourages more trips and longer trips.

In this case we must be specific...theory is utterly useless. A highway would simply not encourage more driving than widened roads would. It makes no sense in a place where everyone already drives, where no travel is prevented by congestion (should either a highway extension or widened roads be built), etc. Are people going to drive to work twice a day? No. Will more tourists visit the area? Possibly, but then there'd be road capacity freed up somewhere else outside the city where no transit/congestion affects auto trips, either. Even if we dream up theoretical families that walk to the grocery store in Keswick but would drive to Newmarket instead or highway-dependent industries that move to Keswick, we're talking about a literally insignificant and unmeasurable quantity of "new" trips and not a reason to oppose a highway in lieu of road widenings. Widened roads can add more road space than a highway, anyway.

Also, you were talking about highways accelerating growth, not road space in general, so don't mix the two up. I would clearly not dispute that added road space can generate trips because roads in northern York Region are becoming increasingly congested and will eventually this will impact leisure/shopping trips, location of businesses, etc.

I was originally responding to urbanfan89's erroneous belief that all (or practically all) of this growth is dependent on highway construction. It's not, but even if it was, Georgina would continue to grow. The only thing that mildly supports him is that the Keswick business park may not be permitted without the highway extension (the rest of the planned growth, including all residential targets, is not 404-dependent)...but if it was permitted and served by widened roads, it's also purely theoretical that a highway instead would result in more trips than just, say, a 6-lane Woodbine.

Even if both a highway extension and widened roads were built, the greenbelt and official plans are in place to dictate how much growth occurs. Building both would mean more pressure but hopefully that pressure can be contained as legislated. East Gwillimbury plans to widen Woodbine to 4 lanes and keep Leslie at 2, but this plan assumes the highway(s) is(are) built. If they wish to grow in the event the highway(s) isn't(aren't) built, they'll have to widen the roads even further - no highway probably means more limited employment sites (the Keswick business park) which means more commuters barrelling down streets like Leslie or Warden. You claim that it'd trigger longer trips, but since Georgina's residential targets are not 404-dependent, building the extension would actually result in *shorter* trips, especially if Queensville is built with enough retail/employment to preempt people from going farther south.

It's kinda ironic that the 404 extension would help an exurban place like northern York Region shed it's bedroom community status. The Bradford Bypass is a whole other can of worms, though.
 
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Disparishun

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Me too. I personally think that they're the transportation mode of the not-to-distant future, offering the equity and capacity of public transit with the flexibility of the private automobile. They're considered "third world", I guess, which is why we're pushing 30 km long streetcar lines to underprivileged neighbourhoods, instead.

What about Supershuttle, though? They're airport-only, but they're popular all over the U.S.

Are there regulations that prevent someone from operating a jitney service in the Toronto area? For instance, would they fall under the TTC's "jurisdiction", or under the taxi authority's? (And, I wonder, does the answer change for any of the other Toronto-area municipalities?)
 

Hipster Duck

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^Very good question.

I think that there was a brief jitney service that ran from the condos at the Humber Bay to downtown a few years back. The TTC challenged them saying that it was a competing service and successfully shut them down.
 

kEiThZ

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There are definitely some highways that need expanding (such as 401 between the 427 and 409...eek), but what is needed in the long term (starting from now) is a fundamental paradigm shift given the factors beyond the control of Metrolinx or City Hall or even Queen's Park and Ottawa.

Till that shift occurs, the agency we have have to deal with the very real problems that we have. The city is real. So is the traffic. I'd prefer not to be considered a token in a giant urban planning exercise. That frustration is particularly acute when traffic slows to a crawl at 2am on the DVP.

Manhattan was lucky to dodge a slew of bullets from Robert Moses. His proposal was to build east-west highways across Midtown and Lower Manhattan, while the subway was neglected for many years. Besides, traffic in Manhattan is awful anyways.

There is nothing in Toronto being proposed on that scale. We hardly have anywhere near the highway capacity of NYC. And none of our governments are planning to head in that direction. But even in New York, they still constructed various highways that bring people to Manhattan even if they didn't want any highways in the city. I don't think the Richview or Scarborough Highlands expressway ideas are directly analogous to building highways through midtown and lower manhattan. Our direct comparison would be the Gardiner. And note that we only have 1 highway there.

So what happens south of Eglinton? Do all the extra traffic magically disappear?

Yes, you'll get some congestion south of Eglinton but you'll also relieve congestion for most of the DVP and the merge at the 401.

First, the bottleneck will certainly be shifted south. Second, Bayview and the surrounding streets such as Don Mills and Laird would be swamped by the ripple effect. We need to see things with the network effect in mind.

No more so than you would have anyway. Given that the highway would work towards funneling traffic to/from downtown and locally within Scarborough, I hardly doubt that the construction of a highway that only contacts Don Mills at the end would drastically increase traffic on Don Mills. And if that's the concern, then it can always be terminated at the DVP.

If you need to be symmetrical, the 427 in the east end is the DVP. The QEW in the east end would have been the expressway cutting through Scarborough that was never built. The equivalent of this expressway along the hydro corridor would have been the Crosstown Richview Expressway which also was never built.

Except that the capacity of the 427/QEW/Gardiner West combo is far higher than the 401/404/DVP combo and the latter, already clogged will have to handle additional traffic from the growth of communities in the North and East. If the traffic was that bad on the 427, I'd support building the Richview as well. However, the traffic is not that bad and the west is not scheduled to grow as much as the East and the North.

Certainly, but this is not necessarily a negative and nothing dictates that the GTA has to be symmetrical.

So for the sake of fulfilling some urban planner's fantasies, the residents of the east end should suffer worse road capacity?

If they are not in the pockets of developers, they would most likely brush this aside.

If they have common sense and realize that their own rosy projections will mean congestion will be there long after all their plans are realized, they will understand that building a few new roads will be part of the solution. Nowhere does this mean that transit takes a back seat to road construction such as in the past. It merely means to me that some highway network expansion will be needed and that the debate should at least be started. And I would look at this as an opportunity to get more toll highways built in the GTA and the public use to paying for roads in a non-gouging (non-407) manner.
 
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