HOT Lanes Debate is Heating Up

On July 22nd, 2015, Premier Wynne confirmed her administration’s commitment to implementing HOT Lanes on Ontario’s GTHA highways after claiming the temporary HOV Lanes implemented for the Pan Am Games were a success. She didn’t confirm where the lanes would be implemented, but that they were coming.

HOT Lanes are High Occupancy Toll Lanes. They are basically HOV Lanes with a toll. HOV Lanes have been around the GTA for a while. They are restricted lanes that encourage carpooling and are considered a “green initiative” because the goal is to reduce traffic congestion by minimizing the amount of single occupancy vehicles on the road and in turn reduce air pollution. The concept is supposed to give you incentive to change how you commute because these lanes are generally less congested. These lanes are generally open to vehicles with 2 or more people, motorcycles, transit and “green” vehicles.

Canada’s first HOV Lanes opened in the Greater Vancouver and Toronto area in the early 1990’s followed by facilities in Ottawa, Gatineau, Montreal and Calgary. As of 2010 there were about 150 KM’s of highway HOV lanes in 11 locations and over 130 KM’s of arterial HOV lanes in 24 locations across Canada.

HOT Lanes allow single occupant vehicles drive on HOV Lanes for a price. Critics say this is a mistake. Those that support the concept of HOV Lanes say that it defeats the purpose because it will not change behavior if people can simply pay to ride on it.

The group “Stop the 407 ETR’s Abuse of Power” has even greater concerns surrounding the monetization of travel on public roadways and privatizing roadways the public needs. They view these traffic management policies as extremely punitive considering that the Province failed to plan the growth in the GTHA and so in turn they planned to fail and now want to cash in on the plight of hard working people that really have no other way to get to work everyday. They view it as nothing more than a cash grab that does nothing to reduce congestion and everything to turn a profit in highly congested areas. They warn that this affects everybody regardless if you travel via public transit, bicycle, walk or your personal vehicle.

Their official position on HOT Lanes and statement is:

“ABSOLUTELY NOT! By design HOT lanes need congestion to be viable. They are nothing more than a “revenue tool”. They will do nothing to change behavior or relieve congestion. Snake oil salesmen like 407 ETR, AKA Ferrovial, AKA Cintra, have been successfully lobbying all levels of government around the world, selling this traffic management concept as a solution to congestion issues. This is NOT a solution to congestion issues. It’s highway robbery!

In Australia and Ireland, whole highways that implemented this traffic management policy went bankrupt and left taxpayers on the hook. Privatizing highways ties the hands of governing authorities to come up with solutions to congestion because the company operating the tolls gets to dictate what and if any infrastructure is built that competes with it. In Texas, Indiana, Virginia and North Carolina they’ve either gone bankrupt or the people have circled their wagons to run them out of town. Besides HOT lanes aren’t so HOT in LA. They didn’t do what was expected. Congestion only gets worse. HOT Lanes not only need congestion to be viable, but they cause congestion. WE SAY NO WAY!!! The Province has to look more closely at R & D for solutions to congestion.”

The group views HOT Lanes as the same traffic management concept that 407 ETR has implemented on Highway 407. They have been very vocal about their concerns with respects to how Highway 407 has been managed and feel that with all of the outstanding customer service issues on that highway, furthering this concept is only going to make a bad situation worse. Besides taking away road space for this concept will be a nightmare. We need more public road space, not more taken away.

The group has a petition on they encourage everyone to sign. Say NO to HOT Lanes

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3 Responses to “HOT Lanes Debate is Heating Up”

  1. D Murph says:

    My forefathers fought against communisum and dictatorship for cival rights and freedom in Canada.
    It is a Constitutional RIGHT to travel freely without charge in this country!!!
    Apparently there are alot of Canadians that do not know their rights or Canadian History???
    Shame on you all !!! Education is a working tool for justice in our country of Canada, Now start using it to defend your civil rights “People.”

  2. Tj says:

    Guess the Supreme court is on holiday.
    Absolutley shamefull.

  3. Tj says:

    Guess the Supreme court is on holiday.
    Absolutley shamefull.

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