Don Valley Parkway: Wikis


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Don Valley Parkway
Formed: 1960s - completed 1966
Direction: North/South Map
From: Gardiner Expressway, Toronto, Ontario
To: Highway 401 & Highway 404, Toronto, Ontario
Major cities: Toronto, Ontario
View of the Don Valley Parkway, looking south from the Prince Edward Viaduct.
DVP and the Don River.
Present view of Don Valley Parkway looking southbound, at interchange with Lawrence Ave.
Don Valley Parkway, looking northbound, at interchange with Lawrence Ave. The 1960s conventional low mast ("cobra-neck") poles with low pressure sodium have since been removed.

The Don Valley Parkway (generally referred to as the DVP) is a controlled-access six-lane freeway in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, so named because it runs through the parklands of the Don River Valley.

The northern terminus of the Don Valley Parkway is at the Highway 401 and Highway 404 interchange while its southern terminus is at the Gardiner Expressway. It follows the route of the former Woodbine Avenue between O'Connor Drive and Highway 401 and through a new route in the lower Don Valley parallel to the Don River. The speed limit is 90 km/h (55 mph).

The Don Valley Parkway was built as part of a grand plan initiated by then Metro Chair Fred Gardiner (for whom the Gardiner Expressway is named) in the 1950s to criss-cross the city with expressways. The highways plan was never completed primarily because of downtown objections to several of the expressway routes, leaving it and the Gardiner Expressway to carry the bulk of highway traffic into the core.

North of Highway 401, the freeway continues as Highway 404. Metropolitan Toronto had initially intended to extend the DVP north past Sheppard Avenue but the province took over the project and renamed it Highway 404. Although the DVP does not use exit numbers, Highway 404's exit numbers start at 17 (instead of 0) in order to account for the length of the DVP.


Lane configurations from south to north

Section Travel Lanes
Gardiner Expressway/Lake Shore Boulevard - Eastern Avenue 2 Lanes In Each Direction
Eastern Avenue - Highway 404/Highway 401 3 Lanes in Each Direction

Exit list

The entire route is in Toronto.

Destinations Type of Interchange Notes
Lake Shore Boulevard ramps Southbound exit and northbound entrance
Gardiner Expressway ramps Southbound exit and northbound entrance. Former Highway 2
Richmond Street (exit) - Adelaide Street (entrance) - Downtown ramp/trumpet Southbound exit and northbound entrance; pair of one-way streets.
Queen Street East ramp Northbound entrance
Dundas Street East ramp Northbound entrance
Bayview Avenue, Bloor Street Trumpet Former Highway 5 (Bloor Street)
Don Mills Road Cloverleaf
Eglinton Avenue A4 Parclo
Wynford Drive ramps Southbound exit and northbound entrance
Lawrence Avenue Cloverleaf
York Mills Road AB Parclo
Hwy 401 and Hwy 404Newmarket Clover-stack Northbound exit and southbound entrance

Construction phases

Traffic areas

The typical traffic areas on the Don Valley Parkway are:

Southbound (A.M. rush) - 6:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. - Highway 401 & Highway 404 - Don Mills Road and/or Wynford Dr

Northbound (P.M. rush) - 12:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. - Bayview Ave/Bloor St Ramp and/or Don Mills Road and/or Eglinton Avenue - Highway 401 & Highway 404

Traffic congestion

A trailblazer for the Don Valley Parkway, located on the Prince Edward Viaduct.

The Don Valley Parkway is Toronto's busiest commuter route (along with the Gardiner Expressway), connecting the city to its northern and eastern suburbs via Highways 401 and 404. When construction of the DVP was completed in 1966, traffic volumes were much lower than today. In addition, most of the traffic from the east on the DVP was expected to be carried by the planned Scarborough Expressway, which was ultimately never built. Since the mid-1960s, the population of the suburbs has grown tremendously, and along with it heavy traffic on the DVP, resulting in frequent congestion; as a result, the freeway is not-so-affectionately nicknamed the "Don Valley Parking Lot."

The most congested section is between Eglinton Avenue and Highway 401, often well beyond rush hours, although the highway is sometimes congested along its whole length. This situation has not changed since the 1980s.

The interchange with Highway 401 is a serious bottleneck, due to only two through traffic lanes for northbound/southbound traffic and because of heavy four-way volumes. The worst jams occur southbound just past the junction with Highway 401, where two lanes and one HOV lane from Highway 404, two lanes from the 401 Westbound, and two lanes from the 401 Eastbound become four, and eventually three prior to the offramp at York Mills Road.

Since the early 2000s, the 1960s conventional illumination has been replaced by shaded high-mast lighting. Traffic management on the DVP has improved with the installation of changeable message signs and overhead ('RESCU') cameras have been installed along the route, similar to the COMPASS system that the province uses on 400-Series Highways such as Highway 401 and the QEW. Concrete barrier walls are now used in the outer sections, as well dividing the south and north bound sections of the parkway. The inner sections continue to use steel guide-rails.

Expansion Plans

The Don Valley Parkway was originally designed and built as a four-lane expressway, and was subsequently expanded to six lanes in the 1980s when the grass median was replaced by an additional lane per direction and a concrete barrier.

As traffic volume has grown, plans have been floated several times to expand the highway further, add bus lanes or other alternative roadways, although no plans exist currently. There have also been calls to revive the Scarborough Expressway, which would divert much of the traffic that currently uses the Don Valley Parkway.

During the 2003 municipal election campaign, candidates openly debated expanding the highway, funded through the conversion of the highway to a tollway. Plans to reduce traffic have included Single Occupant Vehicle Tolls combined with Duo Occupancy Vehicle Tolls which are slightly lower than SOV. but this was rejected after fears that traffic would be diverted on already-congested parallel arterials such as Bayview Avenue and popular objections to toll highways.

Most recently, in 2004, the Canadian Automobile Association lobbied for a plan to expand the DVP, along with the construction of additional arterial roads to accommodate the traffic volumes. One such example is extending Leslie Street past Eglinton Avenue until it meets the DVP; Leslie Street has an interchange with Highway 401 while Don Mills does not.

On May 11, 2007, GO Transit had a plan to put dedicated bus lanes on the long shoulder lanes on the Don Valley Parkway, due to the long traffic congestion that the GO Buses go through each day as they travel on the Don Valley Parkway to Union Station. This plan would takes years to begin. Toronto officials have to do weight testing on the asphalt on the Don Valley Parkway and perform environmental assessments.

See also

External links



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