Local looks to tackle traffic at Yonge and the 401

Resident Raymond Jean has come up with a unique idea to tackle traffic back-ups at Yonge Street and Highway 401.

The city and province had already committed to jointly funding a feasibility study that will explore creating a left-turn flyover ramp for cars travelling southbound on Yonge Street to eastbound Highway 401.

But Jean thought that there was a more efficient and less expensive way of addressing the problem.

“During rush hour, especially the morning rush hour, it’s basically gridlock,” Jean said of the current situation.

He is proposing what he calls a double crossover diamond with overpass/underpass crossovers.

Jean’s theory centres around aiding the free flow of traffic such that left-hand turn signals are not needed. The roads would crossover in such a way that cars in the left lane would be able to get onto the on-ramp without having to stop.

As a trained software engineer, Jean didn’t know how to prove that it would work until he read a Time magazine article about the double crossover diamond, a model that is steadily gaining popularity in the United States. It has already been implemented in Missouri and is popping up in other states.

Coun. John Filion described the concept as brilliant. It even addresses issues he didn’t think could be resolved, such as providing for a safe pedestrian and cycling path. The next step, he said, is to submit it to a technical assessment.

“It’s a remarkably intelligent solution if it can work,” Filion said. “Everyone was extremely impressed that a resident who isn’t a traffic engineer could have come up with something like this.”

Stephen Schijn, manager of infrastructure planning in City of Toronto: Transportation Services Division, said that the feasibility study is expected to commence this month.

A variety of options will be considered, including the one put forward by Jean.

The study will cost approximately $200,000 and take roughly until the year’s end to complete, Schijn said.

Should the city decide to further explore any of the options that undergo this technical assessment, the next step would be to do an environmental assessment.

The funding to implement a preferred option would still have to be found.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO