“Tear it down,” writes David Hains. “That’s the upshot of a new report examining the long-term future of the 2.4 kilometrer stretch of the Gardiner Expressway that runs east of Jarvis.”
“That report is part of a full environmental assessment, necessary because the roadway is crumbling and soon won’t be safe to drive on, or under. The four options that are on the table: maintain the roadway as-is and undertake massive repairs to ensure it is safe; keep the Gardiner but try to improve its aesthetics and the ways it interacts with the public realm; replace it with a new roadway; and remove it altogether.”
The Gardiner Expressway, completed in 1966, is thought by many Torontonians to be a hangover from the days of modernist planning which effectively cuts off downtown from the shores of Lake Ontario. The opportunity to re-connect Toronto with its waterfront comes at a key moment since these forgotten post-industrial lands are currently being transformed into a collection of thriving and sustainable waterfront neighbourhoods. The renewal is coming at enormous expense to the municipal, provincial and federal levels of government.
The removal would come at an estimated cost of $220 million (less that the $300 million cost of repair) but the most contentious loss would come in the form of increased commute times - an estimated 15 minutes for some. Not surprisingly, this doesn’t sit well with Mayor Rob Ford who doesn’t hide the belief that the car is still king.
“In short, this is set to become a major election issue.”