Here's an easy solution to daily backup on the Gardiner

Right now, the jam-up develops because nobody has to make a decision and it’s the Wild West out there.

By Norris McDonald Wheels.ca

May 12, 2016 4 min. read

Article was updated 7 years ago

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I think I am going to go into the consulting business.

I decided to do this after reading a news story that said a city of Toronto study had concluded that construction projects were being finished faster when the work was done non-stop 24/7 instead of 7-to-7, Monday-Friday.

I just about fell off my chair when I read that. But it gets better.

The story said that because the construction companies didn’t have to haul all of their heavy equipment into and out of the site every morning and evening, and could keep it chugging away all day and all night instead, the jobs didn’t cost as much because they were completed quicker.

As Popeye would say, well blow me down.

I think I would make a great consultant. Here’s an example of my work.

Mayor John Tory: “If a truck backfires in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Me: “The answer is the same as if you’d asked me, ‘What is the sound of one-hand clapping?’ ”

Mayor John Tory: “Thank you. I understand — I think.”

Me: “That will be fifteen thousand dollars.”

Okay, now that I’m a consultant (that was quick, wasn’t it?), I am going to tell the traffic planners of Toronto how to do their jobs, starting with the morning backup on the eastbound Gardiner Expressway.
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Right now, the jam-up develops because nobody has to make a decision and it’s the Wild West out there. People are in lanes they aren’t supposed to be in and then have to butt into the lanes they should have been in from the beginning and before you know it you have chaos.

Then, just before you get to the Exhibition grounds, there are two entrances to the eastbound Gardiner open that should be closed. One of them used to be closed at 7 a.m. but that went by the boards eons ago.

So you have people driving east on the Gardiner in an exit lane and cutting in at the last moment, plus two entrance lanes coming into the Gardiner from Lake Shore Blvd. at the Ex. and suddenly a trip that should take 15 minutes can last 45 minutes or even an hour.

This sort of schmozzle is not restricted to the Gardiner during the morning rush. Try going south on the DVP from the westbound 401. It’s screeching-tire city over there and it’s a wonder there aren’t more rear-enders.

Here is how to solve the Gardiner traffic jam (and, by extension, the 401-DVP puzzle too). Pay close attention, because there will be a test.

Close those two entrances to the Gardiner just before the Ex. from 7 till 10 a.m. and from 4 till 7 p.m. (motorists have trouble getting into the city then, too).

Erect signage — big signage — west of the Lake Shore exit from the Gardiner telling motorists they have to make a choice: they can go downtown on the Gardiner or via Lake Shore Blvd. but not both. Once on one or the other, they’re committed.

Erect signage mandating that the middle and passing lanes on the Gardiner are through lanes. The right-side lane, once drivers have moved past the South Kingsway entrance, will be an exit lane to Lake Shore at the Ex.

Use a solid white line to separate the exit lane from the two through lanes. Put cameras all along that stretch. You will get a ticket if you use the exit lane and then have to cross the solid white line to get into a through lane.

In short, once past the Lake Shore Blvd. exit, and with no vehicles entering the Expressway past South Kingsway and nobody allowed to cheat by using the exit lane, there should be no holdups and traffic should be able to zip right along into downtown Toronto without delay.

I think this plan is brilliant – and here’s the best part: it’s on the house.

Next time? Fifteen thousand dollars.

Readers react to Norris’ electric vehicle column at thestar.com/autos


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