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September 27, 2010

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George

The other ridiculous thing about putting HOV lanes through Oakville is that the congestion here is caused by cars and trucks entering and exiting the highway in large numbers and traffic constantly criss-crossing (Ford Drive, HWY403, Royal Windsor, Trafalgar, Dorval, all of Oakville..) So even fewer cars will use the HOV lane because once on it you have to stay there awhile.

Richard

I was thinking the same thing today as I drove from Burlington to Toronto. Has no one from the MTO (or whoever plans these shennanigans) observed the virtually empty lanes HOV lanes on the 403 during rush hour?

The other thing that absolutely slays me about these lanes, are those people that use the lanes JUST because they have two or more people in their vehicle. They might be going 90km/h, which is perfect for the right hand lane, but think they should be in the HOV lane because they have two occupants in the vehicle.

Does not 'Keep Right Except to Pass' apply regardless of the availability of an HOV lane.

lukev

As somebody who uses the GO Bus through this area, me and the thousands of other passengers will be using the new lane.

Every GO bus is 57 single-occupancy cars off the road. I'd say that is a net benefit to traffic congestion, wouldn't you?

Richard

The GO bus will have 57 single occupancy cars off the road whether there is an HOV lane or not.

lukev

Richard: that is correct, but with HOV lanes each bus trip is faster, meaning they can carry more passengers in a day with the same equipment and number of drivers. It also attracts more passengers to take the bus, so fewer cars on the road.

If we opened up the subway tunnels to general car traffic, would the subway be as effective? Think about it.

Porscheman

The other thing which is the dirty little secret that unless we do an FOIS is that the number of accidents centered around the HOV lanes. You have a car that has come onto the 403 at Mavis trying to get across three lanes of heavy traffic and then attempts to enter the HOV going somewhere near 20Kph (or from a dead stop) as another car coming along the HOV at somewhere over 100Kph (always higher I find just to prove a point to the other stopped lanes) and these two cars in my observed math 2 out of 20 times hit each other. Or the best one is the car that has to come to a stop in a live HOV lane because no one will let the guy into the third lane so he can again weave his way over three lanes of traffic and then into the off ramp. Stupid, stupid and stupid. Divide the number of cars you could take out of these other three lanes and let them into the HOV lane and your going to speed EVERYONE up and save thousands of liters of gasoline. But no - all the 'greenies' hear is the word 'ending the HOV lanes' and they will freak out. Meanwhile all that air extra polution and extra gas doesn't happen because of HOV lanes? I'm sorry - this is the wind powered energy policy of traffic control!

Jim Kenzie

Hi Luke:

You're relentless - I like that!

The fact is, HOV lanes are woefully under-utilized, by cars or by buses.

I guess to some degree it's a chicken-or-egg thing.

But we've had HOV lanes for a long time, and we simply don't use them.

How long can we afford to waste these scarce resources?

If traffic continues to increase, if cars continue to be the public's 'mass transit system' of choice, the response will only be to build more roads.

I'm sure YOU - of all people - don't want that.

Jim Kenzie

lukev

Hi Jim.

May I ask how you decided that driving is our mass transit of choice? The GO bus I used on Friday had about 40 more passengers than seats to fit them. Our subways, buses, streetcars, and trains are literally bursting at the seams they're so packed.

Sadly the new QEW lanes weren't open yet, so these poor souls had to try balance while standing for over an hour, in a bus not built for standees.

There are plenty of drivers who would use transit if the service was better. These HOV lans are a step in the right direction.

Jim Kenzie

Hi Luke:

Count the cars. Count the busses. And for you, count the bikes.

Not that hard to figure out.

Jim Kenzie

Jim Kenzie

Hello Porscheman:

Good points.

One question - FOIS? Other than "gras" and French, the best Google could offer was 'Formal Ontology in Information Systems". I have a suspicion that's not it!

Jim Kenzie

Ted

Jim:
I suspect FOIS = freedom of information search

Ted

Speaking of FOIS, I have been commuting on Hwy 403 since the day it opened and would love to see the accident stats per mile driven before and after the HOV lanes went in. I see people force their way left through 3 lanes of traffic to get over to the HOV, only to do the same manouever but to the right this time to get off at the very next exit. But they have their turn signal on through all of this, so it's all okay, right?

Mark

Jim,

I am so pissed, the new HOV lanes between Brant and Trafalgar did "NOTHING" for the 99.9 percent of drivers that need to use the highway, I understand that they are trying to promote carpooling but that is not even a consideration or possibility for practically all of the single drivers on the road including myself.

I've been travelling the QEW from Winston Churchill to Bronte for the past 2 years, and when they started construction, I was like great, finally more lanes, until I found out they were only building a HOV lane, I was really pissed, because the main traffic flow was still going to be just 3 lanes.

As I finally take the highway into work this morning (Dec 1), my drive in did NOT get any better, surprise surprise, in fact it's just as bad, hurray for the 1 car I see pass in HOV every minute.

Thank you to our glorious leader Dalton McGuinty in office who is a certified specialist in traffic congestion and transportation!

more reason to move to Europe...

Richard

Luke, just because a bus trip can be completed faster does not mean that GO Transit is going to increase the number of bus trips it runs per day.

I've taken a quick poll of the people I work with who live in the west end (about 20 ppl, which is by no means a large enough number to reflect society as a whole and yet...) not one of them wants to carpool now that there are HOV lanes, and absolutely NONE of them want to take the bus, no matter how fast the trip.

The reasons? The bus doesn't stop anywhere near our place of employment, even if it did, the schedule does not match our working hours. Carpooling? Sorry, I've got to pick up/drop off my kids/dog/parents etc. after/ before work, so no I don't want to carpool. Oddly, flatulence was a close second reason to not want to carpool (I work with very open people..lol).

Jim Kenzie

Hi Ted:

Ah yes, FOIS!

Thank you.

And yes (x2) those stats would be interesting to see.

Jim

Jim Kenzie

Hi Mark:

I actually came onto the new highway just the other day, 403 south/west-bound, merging with QEW just before Trafalgar.

Normally, that's a parking lot - but this day, around 4:30 p.m. (close enough to rush hour), no probs at all! Until I got to Bronte Road, where traffic just stopped. Fortunately, I was exiting at Bronte.

This was just one piece of data; maybe I just got lucky. From what you say it is just as bad as ever on a regular basis.

Nothing less than what thoughtful people could have predicted.

Jim

Mick

I have been driving the QEW/403 between Brant St and Third Line for the last 2.5 years. I have noticed that since the HOV lanes opened the morning drive (traveling East between 7 and 8) seems to be much better which is a suprise since the HOV is pretty much empty all the time. The drive home traveling West at 4:30 PM is always bad, no improvement at all. I do agree that the HOV lanes are not used that often, most cars are single passenger, they really should have just made it 4 lanes for all.

Jason Peters

Try carpooling once in a while. You might find that the HOV lane has a purpose, other than to annoy arrogant single occupant SUV drivers.

And your comment regarding bike lanes really struck a sour note with me. I love cars. I have a classic mustang, and there's not much that makes me smile more than opening it up. I race it as regularly as I can. That being said, I try to reduce my impact on the limited resource that powers our automobiles - I bicycle commute. I long for more bike lanes where I come from. I'm fortunate enough to live in a part of town where I can get to work without straying too far into traffic, which is a good thing because drivers in Edmonton (I realize I'm generalizing a bit) are arrogant, ignorant, and have no respect for others sharing their roads. There are far too many of my fellow cyclists killed each year because of it. If more bike lanes will keep a bit of road space free for cyclists, and keep us safer, then it seems to be worth it to me.

How about we share the road a little. They don't exist solely for you Jim. Sorry to break it to you.

Jim Kenzie

Hi Jason:

As you say, far too many cyclists are killed each year by cars, the fathers of two very close friends of mina among them.

So why would cyclists want to give cars MORE opportunities to kill them?

If, as you say, "...more bike lanes will keep a bit of road space free for cyclists, and keep us safer...", then by all means.

But that's a very big "IF".

Because they don't.

Bike lanes - especially bike lanes on major automotive thoroughfares - don't work from a safety perspective, from a traffic management perspective, or from a democratic application of public funds perspective.

They are political tools, used by opportunistic politicians to curry favour among a small subset of voters. With the abysmal turnout in municipal elections, a small but active minority can sway the outcome.

As for HOV lanes, they simply do not work as intended. They are supposed to encourage car pooling - they don't. End of story.

I have driven in Edmonton, but didn't note that drivers there are much worse (nor, it must be said, much better) than
elsewhere.

I was there in winter.

Don't recall seeing a single bike on the streets.

Cheers,

Jim Kenzie

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