Remove the Gardiner Expressway East
Remove the Gardiner Expressway East
“If the decision ultimately of the council is to support the hybrid I think frankly it’ll be a major step backwards and you’re going to miss a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I’ll be very frank, we’ll be the laughingstock of the world.”
-Paul Bedford, former chief planner of Toronto
This June 10th, 2015, Toronto City Council will make a decision on what to do with the eastern portion of the elevated Gardiner Expressway. A 1.7km stretch of highway that runs along Toronto's waterfront from Jarvis Street to the Don Valley Parkway.
Currently, there are 2 major options being considered by City Council:
1) The first is known as the "hybrid" option. It entails rebuilding the elevated highway with a slightly different configuration. Mayor John Tory has publicly supported this option.
2) The second option is to remove the Gardiner East and ramp it down to an enlarged surface boulevard (Lake Shore Boulevard).
We care deeply about Toronto, its future, and its residents, and we believe that the entire region would be best served by adopting option #2: Remove the Gardiner East.
Removing the Gardiner East means removing a significant barrier to the waterfront. It would allow the city to best realize its goals of creating a beautiful and globally competitive waterfront that is well connected to downtown and accessible to all.
Removing the Gardiner East would allow the city to fully realize the plans for the Keating Channel waterfront community. (The area of the waterfront where the Gardiner East runs directly adjacent to the water.)
Removing the Gardiner East would "unlock" 12 acres of city-owned land for development, which is expected to generate approximately $176 million in new revenue for the city (versus $39 million for the hybrid option).
Removing the Gardiner East would have almost no impact on commuting patterns. Only 3% of commuters coming into downtown use this stretch of the Gardiner and any possible delays are expected to be at most 3-5 minutes. However, studies show that road use follows something called "induced demand." The more roads you build, the more people drive. But it also works in reverse. Therefore, removing the Gardiner East will likely cause much of this (little) car demand to simply disappear. This is what happened in many other cities around the world -- from San Francisco to Seoul -- who similarly removed their elevated urban expressways.
Removing the Gardiner East is the cheapest option for taxpayers. It is expected to cost $461 million over the next 100 years to build and maintain, versus $919 million for the hybrid option. This number also does not include the additional revenue that would be generated from the land sales mentioned above.
Removing the Gardiner East would, therefore, free up public dollars (well over half a billion) for investments that need to be made in public transit, affordable housing, and other critical items that will likely impact more people than 3% of commuters.
Removing the Gardiner East is -- as stated by Toronto's former chief planner Paul Bedford -- a once in a lifetime opportunity. Once the eastern waterfront gets developed (and it has already started), Toronto will have missed the opportunity to truly connect downtown to Lake Ontario. Future generations will be stuck with the elevated Gardiner East.
If you too care about the future of this great city, we encourage you to sign this petition and reach out to your local City Councillor as soon as possible. Make your voice heard before the June 9th and 10th Council meetings and tell them that you support the REMOVE option.
-Brandon Donnelly & Stephen Job
(Passionate City Builders)