Saturday, June 4, 2011

5 Tips to Help With Highway Closures

Unless you haven't paid any attention to the news, talk around town or overhead message boards you know that the Gardiner and DVP are closing tonight (yes actually tomorrow morning) at 2:00am.

This closure has nothing to do with catch basin cleaning, grass cutting, litter pick-up or paving and painting.  This closure has everything to do with a being charitable.

On Sunday June 5th many people will have chance to see the city in a new light and at a much different pace.  It's the, "Becel Heart and Stroke Ride for Heart"

Every year this event happens.  Every year we call the closure, all in the name of a good cause, and don't forget it really is!  Every year thousands of people contribute an insignificant amount of time and energy to create a very significant result.  Every year, those not taking part, not aware, not from Toronto are caught in a traffic nightmare!!

Every year we message the life out of telling people to avoid the area, don't drive if you don't have to, find alternate routes, use public transit, etc.  And every year, I watch the cameras and the traffic feeds to see that nothing is moving around the area of the closure!  What do expect....those two highways carry an incredible amount of traffic effectively and efficiently.  Don't believe me? Watch the news tomorrow night and see the traffic impact from this closure.

Here is the irony...tomorrow...I have to go downtown...I have to do what I tell people not to do and I have to use my personal vehicle.

Here is the tips I am going to follow to minimize the pain.

1.) Leave really early
You can't make up time on the road if you are stopped in grid locked traffic.  All that happens is you get mad and frustrated and that can lead to bigger problems.

2.) Plan your route
Don't drive anywhere near the closure area until you absolutely have to
Even though where I have to be can be considered in the eastern side of the downtown core near the lake, I will not be anywhere near the lake shore until the last point possible.  I will come 'down' through the city as opposed across the bottom.  A little out of my way, but the extra mileage will more than make up for the lost time.

3.) Closest alternate routes are not the best routes
Take the Gardiner closure for example.  Do you know how many people will be on Lakeshore Blvd, King Street, Queen Street The Queensway and Front Streets?  Pretty much everyone that can't get on the FGX.  So, think about the east west routes that are a little out of the way, but won't have nearly the traffic on them....St.Clair, Eglinton, Bloor.
DVP.  Don't use VicPark and Don Mills.  Use Yonge, McCowan.

4.) Be patient
It's going to be busy.  Accept it.  Don't be yelling at your steering wheel waving your arms like a seagull and holding your horn until it cacks out.  None of it works and quite look weird.

5.) Transit
The same traffic nightmare that catches everyone else also catches buses and streetcars.  Think subway and GOTrain.

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