HOV lanes make sense only to traffic engineers
Guest Column Ė John Anga
Some good ideas simply donít work.
Take the car pool lanes for instance. I am sure youíll agree that itís a good idea but poor use of a perfectly good highway lane.
The HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes are designed to help move more people through congested areas. The HOV lanes can only be used by buses and vehicles carrying two or more people, so the act reads. The Ontario government has invested more than $100 million in HOV lanes. The transportation ministry says, ďThere car pool lanes are part of the governmentís plan to create reliable, efficient infrastructure and strengthen Ontarioís prosperity.Ē Hog wash.
A few days ago, I had the misfortune of having to use the Hwy. 403 going into Mississauga at rush hour. I donít know how people do this day after day. I felt claustrophobic sitting in that traffic. It was moving at a snailís pace and at times not at all. There were thousands pf cars stuck out there idling and virtually going nowhere. It took me 45 minutes to go from one exit to the other; i could have walked it in five minutes.
As I slowly crested the hill ahead, I could see I was going to be there for a while but something else caught my eye, the very far lanes to my left was practically empty with the odd car speeding by. I thought to myself, ď what a perfect picture of a waste of taxpayerís moneyĒ.
Here you have literally thousands of cars wasting gas, polluting the air, not to mention the loss of productivity, and a perfectly good car pool lane barely used. You canít believe the frustration I felt. I had to be at a meeting a half an hour ago and here I was stuck in the right lane going nowhere.
If I was beside that car pool lane I think I would have been tempted to get in it, after all, I help pay for this lane through my taxes, didnít I? (I wonder if some judge would buy that explanation).
I donít know who thought of this terrific idea but itís obvious itís not working. I wouldnít doubt that it was the same person that thought of the taxi-and-bus-only lanes downtown. Those lanes snarl traffic at rush hour every time. Itís bad enough two lanes canít move the traffic fast enough now most major streets downtown are reduced to a single lane.
The bike lanes are another source of frustration to motorists. Have you ever driven along some of Torontoís streets that have bicycle lanes? Did you see any bicycles? I think Iíve seen a couple a few days ago.
I know the intention is right but these ideas are not practical. They are costing us millions of dollars annually and the return is negligible. If the intention is to reduce the amount of cars on our roads perhaps the government should be giving driverís tax incentives or free TTC (imagine that).
How about adopting some of Europeís major cities ideas, odd licence number cars one day and even numbers the next.
The Villager - September 15th, 2006
...i want to respond (though it probably won't make any difference) but there's so much to say, i don't quite know where to begin!