Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Highway 4 Diversion

A November 2007 blog post titled, "Provincial Highway vs. West London Expressway" made the case for a low-cost alternative to the City's long-term plan for a west-side expressway stub. And, faithful readers will have seen a later item labelled, "SWEA -a Truly Regional Entity, or just a Freeway One", which was critical of our regional economic organization not addressing regional economic development and transportation conundrum.
Be advised that whereas there was favourable reaction from some MPPs, city and county councils as well as SWEA (South West Economic Alliance) are still pondering. With the recession and attendant job losses facing constituents, it seems timely to remind councillors in London and Middlesex that they have some long-standing transportation matters to resolve.
Given the 401 and 402 in south London and the eastern Veteran's Memorial Parkway, many Londoners believe completion of the dream ring must be of Expressway proportions. Readers are reminded that an Expressway is a multi-lane road divided by a wide median with access/egress at major intersections only. They need also to be reminded , that unlike the highly industrialized east, the mainly residential far west has little need for an "industrial-strength" mid-block expressway.
For the west, an affordable and practical alternative is a Provincial Highway (utilizing mainly existing road allowances) to service both west London build-out and the economic revival of the northern Counties. Without improved access to markets (and improved access by tourists) the northern 519 region will continue to lose population and its little remaining industry.
To Re-cap:
Proposed is a re-route of Highway 4 from Clandeyboye (just above Lucan) south along Denfield Rd, across the river, and then along Westdel Bourne Rd to the 402/401 -and ultimately beyond to Highway 3. The stretch from Clandeyboye to Sunningdale Rd would be of the same paved proportions as the highway to Exeter. From Sunningdale Rd to Westdel Bourne Rd to the 401, it would initially be a two-laner, with provision for future widening to four lanes ...similar to Wonderland Rd.

The message then, to leaderships of all stripes in the City, in the Counties and in the Towns which Highway 4 services: Think Strategically. Act Regionally. Collaborate. Make Necessary OP Changes. Get It Done.

An early version of this post was submitted to London's Mayor and Middlesex's Warden for inclusion in correspondence to respective councils.
While London idles on the peripheral, Calgary gets Harper to accelerate closing of its ring.

PS  1
 Following circulation the Highway 4 project to City council, it is noted that the Park's Department is considering an Upper Thames Conservation notion of utilizing the extreme northern Right of Way of Westdel Bourne Rd (from Kains Rd to the river) as a nature path. It is hoped that the Transportaion Dept is giving consideration to more optimal usage of the ROW as proposed above.
PS  2
 Meanwhile, Middlesex County closes Old River Rd at the west end of a rehabilitated narrow Kilworth Bridge.  The County is concerned with poor sight lines and increasing usage of the twisted and hilly gravel road to as a shortcut around west London.
PS 3
 The immediately preceeding notes demonstrate once again the long-standing disconnect between City and County when it comes to addressing accommodation of inevitable traffic growth arising from build-out of Kilworth, Komoka and the western periphiary of London.
 The City seems steadfast in its long term plan to construct a mid-block expressway stub (across farmland between Westdel Bourne and Woodhull Rds) from the 402 to Ox St W, and rely on the zig-zag of Oxford St and Hyde Park roads to get ever-increasing traffic further into the city and thence northward.
 Will businesses, frustrated commuters and residents send a "wake-up" call in advance of the next elections? 
 Will Middlesex County and its northern neighbours call upon the Province to overcome obstacles to direct access to the 402 ...and get action on the western Provincial Highway?

Fast forward to November 2015,-back-to-the-future.html
and a possible way forward:


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