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Get ready for an (even more) awful Gardiner commute

Posted by Derek Flack / April 28, 2014

Gardiner Lane Closure TorontoCommuting on the Gardiner Expressway can be trying at the best of times, but it's about to get a whole lot worse - and for a longer time. Long term construction work began this morning on the troubled highway, which will extend until 2016. No, that's not a typo. Along with periodic weekend closures like we had on Saturday, lane reductions will become an everyday reality for those travelling to and from the core of the city.

Reports from this morning indicated that traffic had slowed to stop-and-go prior to 7:00 a.m. with the left lane closed in both directions from Park Lawn to Strachan. That's going to mean some groggy-eyed wake-ups for those hoping to beat traffic into the city. Ouch. The crumbling expressway needs all manner of work, including bridge repairs over the Humber River, guardrail work, and replacement of the centre median and a deck of roadway on the westbound side near the CNE.

In addition to daytime lane reductions, the eastbound Gardiner will also be closed periodically overnight (from 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.) so that work crews can address repairs that require complete lane closures. Let the road rage begin.



SBS / April 28, 2014 at 02:29 pm
People have been complaining that the Gardiner needs to be fixed for years. Now it's being fixed. What did you expect?
Allie / April 28, 2014 at 02:32 pm
Might be a great time to give the ol' GO Train a try.

W. K. Lis / April 28, 2014 at 02:33 pm
Wonder if anyone could be to count the number of automobiles (exclude buses and trucks) with only one occupant (the driver) in them?
NotThatDave / April 28, 2014 at 02:34 pm
What happens when council delays, and delays, and delays, then plans, then delays some more.
Jay / April 28, 2014 at 02:34 pm
I got on at Spadina this morning heading west at 6:50am. It took me exactly an hour to get as far as BMO Field - which is 2km away. From Spadina to Pearson - 1h 45m. Welcome to my hell.
Mike / April 28, 2014 at 02:37 pm
The only people laughing are the construction companies raking in all the money.
Jesse / April 28, 2014 at 02:39 pm
Sure glad I take TTC to work instead!
what is the best dog food / April 28, 2014 at 02:43 pm
What happens when council delays, and delays, and delays, then plans, then delays some more
Mike / April 28, 2014 at 02:53 pm
Not surprised it will take until 2016 (or longer). Transit construction in this city is so damn slow. We still don't have streetcar service on lower Spadina and the Spadina track repair project started in July 2012 if my memory serves me right.
Ryan / April 28, 2014 at 02:54 pm
Surprise! Toll Booths! Suck it townies!

--My dream
Moaz Ahmad / April 28, 2014 at 02:57 pm
With all the talk about taking transit have efforts been made to expand GO Train service along the Lakeshore West, Milton, Kitchener (to Bramalea), Stouffville and Lakeshore East lines?
Shannon / April 28, 2014 at 03:01 pm
They need to get TTC workers to do it... At least they know how to go in and get shit done!
Katie / April 28, 2014 at 03:17 pm
I think it's time for some LRT service along the lakeshore area as well as tolling the Gardiner. At least then there'd be some more money put towards it getting fixed quicker!
Dan replying to a comment from Mike / April 28, 2014 at 03:19 pm
Yup, summer of 2012 for Spadina streetcar. Supposed to be back end of August but really who knows it gets pushed back every month.
Scott replying to a comment from Moaz Ahmad / April 28, 2014 at 03:24 pm
Exactly, Moaz.
Give those of us on the Kitchener line an alternative to driving into the city and we'll be glad to. As it is now there are only a handful of trains in the am and a handful in the pm. Disgraceful waste of available resources.
Joe Q. replying to a comment from Moaz Ahmad / April 28, 2014 at 03:24 pm
On Lakeshore West the service is a lot better than it used to be. Counter-commuting trains (running out of the city in the AM) every 30 mins all morning -- it used to be an hour between trains.
Jamaal / April 28, 2014 at 03:51 pm
Both the TTC and the GO train are going to see a significant rise in ridership due to this so all those TTC/GO people enjoying life now will soon feel the pinch as well. EVERYONE in the west will suffer. Every alternate route will see increased traffic
Adam H. / April 28, 2014 at 03:59 pm
Toronto drivers:

"Ugh! Why doesn't the city do something about the state of the roads!"

"Ugh! Why is the city screwing up traffic with road repairs!"
Rob / April 28, 2014 at 04:00 pm
So, a 1/3 lane reduction causes chaos, but we should tear it down (without any decent alternative or a public transit system which hasn't been updated since the 60s), right? Pfft.
I thought Ford was going to be the Mayor that SOLVED the gridlock / April 28, 2014 at 04:15 pm
I tell you I am NOT voting for that guy again. He knows how to promise things, not to deliver. Kelly doesn't stand a chance, so I'll hold my nose and vote Solnacki or Tory.

I'm cryin' with Ryan too! replying to a comment from Ryan / April 28, 2014 at 04:17 pm
Only I happen to live here. Us "Townies" want tolls too, you know. The majority of the folks deteriorating our raods are from 905, so the extra revenue would not only be fair, but greatly appreciated by both townies and boonies alike when the roads get fixed faster.

Tolls now!
Gardiner needs a 3+ HOV lane replying to a comment from W. K. Lis / April 28, 2014 at 04:20 pm
The majority of commuters aren't auto-sharing, which is crazy. Make one of the 3 lanes 3+HOV and you'll see less autos on the Gardiner in an instant and far more car-sharing.

An extra hour added to your commute both ways will have that effect on ya. :)
Tony / April 28, 2014 at 04:20 pm
To be fair the TTC should only run one line going up then down so that not only drivers feel the pain so do transit commuters. Were all in this together aren't we.
Ryan replying to a comment from I'm cryin' with Ryan too! / April 28, 2014 at 04:23 pm
We're in agreement.
My pejorative "Townies" is referring to the 905 and the like; not people who live in the city.

There's no reason why we shouldn't squeeze those who don't pay taxes for the roads they use.
Seriously...Rob has a point. replying to a comment from Rob / April 28, 2014 at 04:36 pm
...the first candidate that makes this a plank in their platform will get a lot of mileage out of it.

I hate wedge-issue politics, but this time it makes good economic sense to frame the situation as "our poor, crumbling, beleaguered infrastructure vs. the ceaseless onslaught/juggernaut of freeloading 905er traffic".

It will piss off the 905 to no end, but who cares? They don't vote in October, so none of the candidates (save Ford, who relies on their donations) need to worry.

Besides, it was the burbs that voted in Harris that caused the (ever-wonky) MegaCity in the first place, so maybe this would be a kind of sweet poetic justice?
iSkyscraper / April 28, 2014 at 04:59 pm
I feel badly for those impacted, but on the bright side this offers a great chance for some quality data collection. The city should be putting GPS on every taxi and city vehicle, along with counters on downtown intersections, to at least get some benefit out of the experience via the gathering of valuable date.

For example, fewer cars will presumably be coming off the Gardiner in the morning due to the reduced throughput. So what does that do for downtown intersections? Does it increase average speed on other routes? Does transit move faster? Or do downtown traffic patterns change at all because flow off the exits is more a function of signal timing than lane restrictions?

And as for traffic demand, the count of overall cars trying to use the Gardiner today probably was the same as last week. But traffic is elastic, and as people study their options they will likely take other routes or cut back on unnecessary trips or carpool or take transit. GO numbers should be watched carefully for a spike.

This is a major event, and a potential goldmine for future traffic and transit planning if not wasted by Fordist ranting and raving.
Adam / April 28, 2014 at 05:05 pm
Take the Gardiner down entirely and build us a beautiful waterfront!
W. K. Lis / April 28, 2014 at 05:09 pm
The bad news is that the GO buses have to use the Gardiner as well. How many of the people on a bus have to yield to a single-occupant automobile?
kam / April 28, 2014 at 06:14 pm
I get that many here are shitting on car divers etc but there's heaps of people who's jobs consist of being on the road. I'm a rep, and use the Gardiner all the time. This is going to be brutal.
piero replying to a comment from Moaz Ahmad / April 28, 2014 at 06:20 pm
Yes the government doubled the service in 2013 which was in itself a multiyear project and investment.

stopitman replying to a comment from Moaz Ahmad / April 28, 2014 at 06:21 pm
@Moaz - the Lakeshore West/East lines have the most frequent service - 30minutes in off peak, and at points 10-15minutes during rush hour (including express trains). The other lines are a little lacking but part of the problem I mention below.

Part of the problem with GO is they don't own much trackage that's not on the Lakeshore routes, so they have to bow to CNR/CPR capacities.

Part of the bonus with GO is that their employees are generally a happy and helpful bunch and GO is much faster than any equivalent TTC service or car route.
Ed Ball / April 28, 2014 at 11:41 pm
Can we not just learn to fly?
Matthew Fabb replying to a comment from Moaz Ahmad / April 28, 2014 at 11:43 pm
While a lot of GO transit lines have been improved, there are still a LOT of GO buses that go to Union and back. Example the last Milton train leaves at 8:08 am and on the other side leaving Union Station is 7 pm. Leave Milton or Union any later and the next one is a bus that is now going to be running painfully slow down the Gardiner.
Jason / April 28, 2014 at 11:57 pm
I don't understand why people live so far from work and put up with a hellish commute every day. They must have a ping pong table or free cookies in their office or something to make spending 2 hours sitting in traffic each day worth while.
roger replying to a comment from Jason / April 29, 2014 at 12:02 am
I'm gonna pretend you didn't say that
joshmi replying to a comment from Jason / April 29, 2014 at 12:08 am
They make moooonnnney downtown, lots of it. But they also decided to have kids and raise them in a nice suburb so they have to spend time commuting. Small price to pay for tons of money and a nice family.
Jay / April 29, 2014 at 12:42 am
I'm totally fine with road works but why does it need to take 2 years? A job like this must have a 24/7 work crew based on how much money these closures are costing the city in lost productivity.

It's not just the drivers who will be affected. If you thought the King, Queen, Dundas and College streetcars were bad enough, just wait until they're caught in the gridlock caused by these closures.
dude replying to a comment from joshmi / April 29, 2014 at 01:03 am
except the "nice" suburbs now have worse gridlock than the city because of their terrible street network. their property taxes are going up like crazy because of the inefficiency of servicing sprawl, poverty is moving out to the suburbs as they deteriorate and the city gets more expensive. Oh, and good luck sending kids to college from nowhere near a post secondary institute, especially as tuition is climbing to American levels and gridlock is making everything seem farther. moving to the suburbs is a sure fire way of disadvantaging a child, not helping it.
Gayle / April 29, 2014 at 07:25 am
All work on the Gardner should be 24/7 and get it finished as fast as possible! As for all the complaints about vehicles with 1 occupant - I am on the road all day for work and all over the map - thus yes mine is one of those vehicles with only 1 person - because of my work!!!! I also agree with tolls for those 905ers coming into town and deteriorating the roads that those of us in Toronto have to pay to upkeep! (perhaps more of them would then use GO trains and buses.
Garneau / April 29, 2014 at 08:49 am
If you keep voting for the morons that don't take transportation seriously, you're going to be stuck in this mess. There is a city election this year. There will likely be a provincial election this year. Spend half the energy it takes to belly-ache on this blog, Spend a fraction of the time it takes to make your commute, and for heaven sake vote for the candidates and parties that will do something about it.

TJ / April 29, 2014 at 08:52 am
All those people who say they want to tear down the Gardiner (parts of it or all of it), enjoy the traffic! Don't forget, they only took out 1 lane, not the entire Gardiner so imagine your commute 3 times worst. Happy driving, err, parking lot.
TJ replying to a comment from W. K. Lis / April 29, 2014 at 08:53 am
Yes. Traditionally, it is around 80-85% during rush hour.
Irwin Mimico / April 29, 2014 at 02:11 pm
Olivia chow wants to tear it down completely! That's one of the stupidest ideas out there. Just 1 lane closed now is causing chaos. Imagine all lanes closed. Does she even have a back up plan? I think not.
hamish wilson / April 30, 2014 at 12:14 pm
For about 7 years from 2002, some of us were suggesting doing a batch of transit instead of the stupid Front St. road folly, ie. a Front St. transitway, to link to Etobicoke. The road folly was eventually knocked away, but the only real leadership for transit was with the province, which expanded the GO trains by two cars. The current crowd at Clowncil also failed to think of doing more transit instead of the repairs, or ahead of the repairs, and didn't even value the time of those delayed on other modes and roads, though they did sorta calculate the worth of the motorists time. Carrupt, and stupid we are... it's not Caronto, but Moronto....
Tom / May 2, 2014 at 10:49 am
at 10am yesterday i saw 3 workers on the enite 8km stretch. At 4.15pm i saw 8. These guys clearly need a lot of space to work in - what a joke
david knight / May 4, 2014 at 08:44 pm
Has no one noticed that no on is actually working on the Gardiner reconstruction, Sunday ,no one working , last Monday to Friday between 4 and 8 workers, Is this the plan to have thousands or cars and trucks stuck in gridlock and 2 closed lanes of the Gardiner and no one working on the project. This project should be going 24 hours a day with dozens or workers and lots of equipment. Something is not right with this project, No one working and 2 years to do a project that should probably take 6 months if managed properly.

Jerry Delora / May 5, 2014 at 07:44 pm
The city traffic planners had the stupidity to actually say ... "We are monitoring the traffic situation closely to see if alternate routes are necessary. "
It does not take a genius to predict that the traffic will be horrific in both directions.
If they had been even half way competent why didn't they arrange alternate routes in advance? Maybe designate one way traffic on certain east west streets during rush hours and coordinate competing road construction projects on Eglington and Lakeshore???
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