Corp Comm Connects

The great highway time trick

We are being hoodwinked in thinking that trips to Toronto on Highway 50 save time, writes Tayler Parnaby
Oct. 1, 2021
Taylor Parnaby

Last week, on a late afternoon drive, Highway 50 was jammed with northbound traffic, the sort of traffic congestion you might see in a big city, not in a rural community largely linked by two-lane highways.

The weekend before, on Saturday, after a summer-long squabble between the provincial government and the contractors, the 6.6-kilometre-long, $616-million extension of the 427 was finally opened several months after York Region had completed its multimillion dollar widening of Major MacKenzie Drive, between the 400 and Highway 50.

The Ford government was boasting! “The expansion of Highway 427, which serves as a heavily-used commuter route to the City of Vaughan and neighbouring communities, is expected to save commuters up to 25 minutes of total travel time for a two-way trip during peak periods, compared to driving along parallel, municipal roads.”

That may be possible for motorists, truckers included, travelling in areas south of Major MacKenzie. It’s an unrealistic claim for those driving in whatever direction north of Major Mac. We’re being hoodwinked into thinking trips between Caledon and Toronto involving Highway 50 will save time. The road network between Caledon and the 427 is back there, in the 1990s, another example of Caledon’s fate being left to others.

According to informed sources, the unvarnished truth is that the network of roadways needed to save time won’t be completed until at least 2027.

According to Peel Region’s manager of transportation system planning, Highway 50 is to be expanded to six lanes between Major Mac and Mayfield Road. Four lanes of Coleraine Drive through Caledon are to be paired with a rebuilt Coleraine Drive through Brampton to its intersection with Highway 50 and Major MacKenzie. The existing roadway is a country road not designed for heavy use, let alone by hefty 18 wheelers.

The process of planning those projects, let alone a “new six-lane arterial road connecting Major Mac and Mayfield,” is just beginning.

Queen's Park’s answer about co-ordination between Peel and the province about “potential for traffic congestion at Coleraine Drive and Highway 50 and Mayfield Side Road because of the 427 extensions" is equally inadequate. “Yes, Peel organized a meeting with Caledon, Vaughan, York Region, police and the MTO in February 2021 to discuss traffic concerns on highway 50.” There was to be a followup meeting this month.

Yup! We’re talking about the problems. Yup! We’re making plans to fiddle with traffic lights and turn lanes to ease the pain, trust me!

The conclusion that Peel Region and the City of Brampton have been sound asleep to what was taking place is easily made. Caledon motorists are left with longer lines of traffic, more lost minutes, more frayed tempers, the consequences of the 427’s expansion.