407 ETR Relieves Traffic Congestion or Contributes to Traffic Congestion?

Change the 407Act!  Please sign & share the petition  http://www.change.org/petitions/premier-kathlynn-wynne-glen-murray-tracy-maccharles-change-the-407act


This article can be found in the Toronto Caribbean on page 14.  Download the paper here http://caribflyer.com/tc-editions/Toronto-Caribbean-April11-Web.pdf


Highway 407’s current model was the  first of its kind in the world.  It’s an open  access all-electronic toll road.  Unlike the  common toll road with manned tollbooths,  collection is done electronically and the  person that owns the plate is the one that is  supposed to be billed.  We will not rehash  the customer service nightmare this has  caused.  This article will focus on the idea  behind this new concept of toll collection.


The 407 ETR claims “More than 380,000  trips take place on the highway each  workday and each month the 407 ETR  processes millions of electronic trips –  eliminating the need for customers to  stop at a toll booth causing congestion. In  2010, customers made over 114 million  trips, traveling more than 2.3 billion kilometers – relieving congestion on other  area highways and local roads. Customers  traveling the 407 ETR save time and, by  traveling at a safe and consistent speed,  also save money on fuel while reducing the environmental impact of driving.”


Stop the 407 ETR’s Abuse of Power believes there is enough anecdotal evidence  to suggest that more study is required to  validate the 407 ETR’s claim.  For example, in Ontario, vehicle registrations increased  from 6,329,052 to 7,854,228 during the  period from 1993-2005.  Of greater significance Is the amount of vehicle kilometers traveled.  In 2005 125,102 million vehicle kilometers were traveled in Ontario. The greatest  increase in VKT’s occurred in 1999 & 2000.  1999  was the year the 407 ETR began operating Highway 407.  We also know that  Ontario’s population is forecasted to grow  at the rate of 1.2%,  4% in Toronto and  the GTA has been growing in leaps and  bounds.  We would like the 407 ETR to  explain to us where the increase in vehicles and traffic is going if it is not driving  on Highway 407?  Does this model relieve  traffic congestion in the GTA or cause it?  We cannot ignore the impact the increase in vehicle registrations and vehicle kilometers traveled has had on our traffic woes.


On April 19th, 1997-The Toronto Star’s,  Jim Kenzie writes, “Open Up Highway  407 and let drivers try it for free.  If commuters fall in love with the tollway, it’ll  cut traffic elsewhere”.  On June 14th,  1997-The Toronto Star’s Jim Kenzie  writes, “Highway 407 is worth it-for free  True value will be seen in how 401 congestion is relieved”.  We were sold hook,  line and sinker that this highway was the  answer to our traffic congestion issues.


Most noticeable was this article in the Toronto Star of October 15th, 1997; the day  people were charged to use the toll highway. It was a retreat back to the 401.  Minister Al Palladini, who drove the tollway  during the morning rush hour with his  successor, Tony Clement is quoted as saying, “There’s no question traffic was very  light, but once motorists get tired of getting stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on  Highway 401 and other routes, they’ll be  back”.  This was when we were only paying under $.10/KM.  The 407 ETR is now  pushing $.25/KM.  People  are not flocking back to this highway as Minister Al Palladini thought they would and that has to do with the model 407ETR is selling everyone.


As noted in that October 15th, 1997, Toronto Star article, when the  tolls took effect, the increase in traffic on  the 401 and other vital routes was duly  visible.  Now, in 2013, congestion is a hot topic.  We feel the effects of gridlock even more so.  Growth has exploded in the 905.  How  did this model “relieve congestion on other area highways and local roads … save  time … save money on fuel while reducing the environmental impact of driving”? It didn’t!  There’s enough anecdotal evidence to suggest it’s contributed to the congestion by not handling the growth that occurred.  This should be studied.


Comments of commuters in earlier articles  were such that indicated the extra $60- $70/month it would cost them to travel  on the highway could not be justified and  that they would revert back to other travel  routes.  Now we have people slammed  with bills from between $1,000-$38,000 that the  407 ETR claims people owe them,  but do not prove it to be a fact and the  MTO blindly collects without knowing  weather or not they are lawful charges.


As stated, there is enough anecdotal evidence that warrants further study that concentrates on weather Highway 407 is relieving traffic congestion or contributing to it.


We want to know the social/economic impact driving on this highway has  had on you.  Please write to Stop the  407 ETR’s Abuse of Power, 75 Bayly  Street, PO Box 14524, Ajax, Ontario,  L1S 7K7 or email us at 407AbuseofPower@hotmail.ca  You can also find  us at www.407etr-abuseofpower.com  If  you would like to keep up to date with  what’s happening on a daily basis, please  join our Facebook group “Stop the 407  ETR’s Abuse of Power” or you can follow us on Twitter @407AbuseofPower.


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