McGuinty Government To Improve Commuters Lives With HOV Lane Network



    Innovative Plan To Increase Transit Use and Ease Congestion

    QUEEN'S PARK, May 24 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government's high occupancy
vehicle (HOV) lane plan will get more people carpooling and onto public
transit, Transportation Minister Donna Cansfield announced today.
    "In the next 25 years we expect to see an increase of nearly two million
vehicles on our roads," said Cansfield. "Our exciting and forward-thinking HOV
network plan will help address this growth and move people and goods more
efficiently now and for generations to come."
    HOV lanes are for use by buses and vehicles carrying more than one
occupant. The lanes are intended to provide fast, reliable travel for HOV
users at any time of the day - particularly during peak travel periods when
other lanes can be slow and congested.
    The HOV lane network will get people moving. The province's plan includes
a network of lanes spanning the Greater Golden Horseshoe to help ease
congestion and offer faster, more reliable commute times to carpoolers and
transit users.
    "We are rebuilding Ontario for tomorrow's success," said David Caplan,
Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal. "Together with our partners, we are
investing more than $30 billion to modernize public infrastructure and build
for growth under our five-year ReNew Ontario investment strategy."
    The plan builds on the successful HOV lanes on parts of Highways 403 and
404. Phase 1, which is already underway, will see new HOV lanes on key highway
corridors by 2011, including:

    
    -  A northbound HOV lane on Highway 404, north of Sheppard Avenue to
       Highway 7 northbound, that will open this summer
    -  Queen Elizabeth Way between Burlington and Oakville - construction
       under way with additional work scheduled to start shortly
    -  Highway 400 from Major Mackenzie Road north to King Side Road
    -  Highway 427 north of Highway 409.
    

    Other phases include extending existing and planned HOV lanes on Highways
400, 403, 404 and the QEW. The timing and order of construction of future HOV
lanes will depend on completion of design, and changes in traffic, population
and employment growth. All HOV projects are subject to environmental
approvals.
    "HOV lanes on Highways 403 and 404 are getting people moving and saving
people time," said Monte Kwinter, MPP for York Centre. "Adding HOV lanes to
our highways will mean more commuters will enjoy a more reliable commute."
    To support carpooling and public transit use, the government will also
expand the number of parking spaces available for carpoolers and transit users
as the HOV network develops. Currently, the ministry operates 50 carpool lots
close to highway interchanges in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, with more than
5,000 parking spaces.
    "HOV lanes are a part of the McGuinty government's plan to keep people
and goods moving," added Cansfield. "By investing in reliable and sustainable
infrastructure that makes better use of Ontario highways, we are building
stronger, healthier communities."
    The ministry is seeking public comment on the HOV Lane Network Plan.
Copies of the plan can be viewed at Ontario Government Information Centres and
can be accessed from the Environmental Bill of Rights website -
www.ebr.gov.on.ca. The plan can also be accessed online at www.ontario.ca/hov
or by calling 905-704-2213.

    Disponible en français

    
                              www.mto.gov.on.ca



    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

             McGUINTY GOVERNMENT'S HIGH OCCUPANCY VEHICLE (HOV)
                              LANE NETWORK PLAN

    The HOV Lane Network Plan represents the McGuinty government's vision for
establishing a connected network of HOV lanes in the Greater Golden Horseshoe
by 2031. This extensive network of HOV lanes will provide a tremendous
incentive for commuters to carpool or take transit and help ease congestion to
keep people and goods moving.

    Phase 1: Near-Term HOV Lane Projects (2007-2011)

    This phase includes existing HOV lanes on Highways 403 and 404 and new HOV
lanes in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Funding for these projects has been
confirmed. These projects are identified in the Province's Southern Ontario
Highways Program.

    HOV lanes included in phase 1 are:
    -  Northbound Highway 404 is currently under construction.
    -  HOV lanes on Highway 400 are currently being designed with
       construction scheduled to begin in 2008.
    -  The Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW), where construction is already underway
       to widen existing bridges to accommodate the new HOV lanes.

    MTO will also study the possibility of including HOV lanes on Highway 427
and will consider transit options, such as bus bypass shoulders.

    Phase 2: Growing the Corridors, Medium-Term HOV Lane Priorities
(2011-2016)

    The focus of phase 2 is to expand the HOV corridors by building on
existing HOV lanes. Medium term projects outlined in this phase involve
extending the HOV lanes on Highways 400 and 404 farther north and adding lanes
to other key sections such as Highway 401 in Peel Region.

    Phase 3: Creating the Network, Longer-Term HOV Additions (2017+)

    Phase 3 is the final stage in developing the network. This longer-term
vision includes adding HOV lanes on important highway corridors. This stage
provides opportunities to connect new HOV lanes with those already built to
form an integrated network across the region. An efficiently connected network
will provide fast and reliable travel for carpools and transit vehicles.

    Disponible en français

                              www.mto.gov.on.ca
    





For further information:

For further information: Jamie Rilett, Minister's Office, (416)
327-9134; Bob Nichols, Communications Branch, (416) 327-1158; Public
Inquiries: (416) 235-4686 (GTA), 1-800-268-4686 toll free, 1-866-471-8929 TTY

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Ontario Ministry of Transportation

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