The city revisits the expressway

Like so many roadways of the 1950s and ’60s, Seattle’s I-5 freeway cut through the city and destroyed pedestrian connections between neighbourhoods. In an effort to undo some of this damage, the city has decided to create a park under the elevated freeway. The 7.5 acre strip of park space includes a picnic area, a mountain bike trail, and a dog park. As well, residents are encouraged to take part in the creation of other sections of the park. Read more about it here.

While nothing is underway yet, there is talk of improving the underbelly of Toronto’s own monolithic expressway. In return for being able to develop condos in the Fort York Neighbourhood, some of the developers will have to integrate public art into the area. One suggestion is to create “Gardiner Plazas” in key spaces under the Gardiner Expressway, with the hope that they will humanize the area and create usable public space. It’s a good idea — creating pedestrian and bike friendly areas under the Gardiner might help connect the rest of this city with the waterfront.

(Pick up the current Spacing to read Dale Duncan’s article on how public art is integrated into Toronto’s development process.)