Roads: building new ones

Has a new road ever really solved a traffic congestion problem?  No.  And despite that this is proven over and over we continue to create new rivers of pavement and pour million of dollars into first building new roads and then maintaining them with the goal of enabling more traffic to flow more effectively.

The Province has identified the need to improve the connection between Vaughan City Centre and Guelph.  As I, like many others, have experienced the constant almost uninterrupted flow of trucks moving east/west on the 401 the need “to do something” is accepted. At the outset of this project, the new corridor (called the GTA West Corridor) was described as being either a rail one or a road one; sadly but not unexpectedly a road option has been selected.

And now the final debates are occurring on where specifically it should be.  A choice has been made which can be generally described as an interchange with Hwy 400 in area of Kirby and King-Vaughan Road and going west south of Nobleton. Hwy 427 will likely be extended north to meet the new road.  You can read the details here.

People whom I respect have told me that it is truly the best route in the identified study area so I am not going to suggest differently.  But, what I want to hi-light is that it is a horrible choice.  It will pave hundreds of prime agricultural land currently being farmed.  It will cut through the fragile east Humber Valley lands. It will damage a cold water fishery.  Why are we not putting all these dollars towards rail?   Investment  to improve the corridors, to incent industry to use rail as opposed to trucks, to reduce the contribution of commuters to the congestion with more GO trains.  (To be fair, investments in all of these areas are being done; I am suggesting more.)

In parallel to the Province’s effort to fix congestion with more pavement, York Region (YR) is looking to implement 8 additional, or possibly 10, east-west arterial lanes with access to the Hwy 400 by 2021.  YR has initiated an Engineering Study with the study area being from Lloydtown Aurora Road south to Kirby Road and from Weston Road to Bathurst.  Within that area the potential interchanges with Hwy 400 north of King Rd. include 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th Sideroads.  Following the Engineering Study environmental assessment will be conducted on the choices identified.

When the above was reviewed at Council May 30th I voiced skepticism about the wisdom of separating the two processes.  More importantly I voiced preference for putting resources towards substantial improvements in public transit to reduce the traffic.  No matter where these additional lanes are put there will be significant impact on the natural environment.  (Have a look at the size of the new interchange at King Road.)   And, another one of our country roads may become a new arterial road.

2 Responses to “ “Roads: building new ones”

  1. Marisa Malfara says:

    Hi Debbie, can you please guide me as to where I can find information as to where the new highway is been proposed. I live on Kirby Road and I want to see how it is going to impact me.

    • Debbie says:

      Hello Marisa,
      The best insight that I have on location is in the executive summary I included in the posting. Page 24 of 26 shows the general routing of the proposed corridor.

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