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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

The future of the Gardiner Expressway

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This post has been compiled by Matthew Blackett and Robin Chubb

At a news conference today at Waterfront Toronto headquarters, it was officially announced that the Gardiner Expressway will be dismantled between Jarvis and the Don Valley Parkway, while the Front Street Extension (FSE) has been put out to pasture. You can find today’s media briefings and past reports on the Waterfront Toronto web site.

Mayor David Miller, who is in Quebec City at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference, took part in the press conference via telephone and declared, “the Front Street Extension will not proceed.” Waterfront Toronto board chair Mark Wilson said that some of the money currently dedicated to the FSE would now be focused on public realm improvements in the area with other funds to go towards dismantling the Gardiner.

Waterfront Toronto will discuss both the Gardiner and FSE at their next board meeting June 12. If the board agrees with the plans, city council will be asked at it’s July meetings to approve the $10-million Environmental Assessment (EA) to dismantle the Gardiner.

The EA process to demolish the eastern part of the Gardiner east of Jarvis will take between three to four years. Construction of the boulevard would take up to four more years. This new road is expected to be eight lanes wide and will add two minutes to a commute for a person driving from Spadina to the DVP at peak hours. Speed will be reduced by 12%. “I think it’s fair to say that an extra two minutes to help make a great city is worth it,” said Miller.

Campbell said Waterfront Toronto’s traffic modelling analysis shows that the eastern part of Gardiner and Lake Shore is only used to capacity for briefs periods of time during the day. For instance, Yonge and York Mills (both arterial roads) have up to 80,000 car trips a day, while Lake Shore east of Jarvis (a road considered a class above arterial) only has 10,000 car trips.

“This is the least utilized part of the Gardiner, and its ugly,” said Waterfront Toronto CEO John Campbell. “We believe we can create an urban street that will dramatically improve the East Bayfront area.”

Wilson, the board’s chair, said, “this section of the Gardiner has too much capacity, and it’s expensive to maintain. This decision is about rationalizing our resources.” This response prompted reporters to ask why wasn’t demolition an option further west into the central waterfront areas. “What we’re proposing today is doable,” said Campbell. “We can afford it. We can’t afford the billions it will cost to dismantle the whole thing. That will be a question for the next generation to answer.”

Campbell said he believes the cost of the project will cost between $200-million to $300-million, but an accurate cost estimate will be revealed during the EA process. Both Campbell and Wilson were unclear where the funds will come for the demolition, though Mayor Miller said that City already pays about $10-million a year in upkeep of the Gardiner, so those funds will eventually be put towards the demolition. It is expected the provincial and federal governments will pay for the other two-thirds of the cost.

On the topic of road tolls paying for part of the demolition and boulevard construction, Miller deflected the question and said that the regional transportation agency Metrolinx is studying road pricing, and the City will have to wait to find out if tolls are an option.

In these images released today, Waterfront Toronto gives us an idea of what the demolition of the Gardiner may represent at street level. The added benefit (not shown in the renderings) is that the railway corridor is not as wide by the time it gets to Jarvis, meaning there could be a window of hope for a relatively pleasant passage down to the lake, all of a sudden making Waterfront Toronto’s proposed developments at West Don Lands, East Bayfront and in the future at the Portlands, seem far more connected to the core of the city and potentially more vibrant. Could this be a great day in the history of Toronto’s waterfront or just another half-assed, half-baked scheme?



  1. Anyone else notice that there are no traffic lights in the renderings? The cars just stop for pedestrians… just like real life. 🙂

    I really hope this “boulevarde” is better than the one made when they took down the eastern “stub” of the Gardiner (DVP to Leslie) – Lakeshore is a speeding car paradise – and is dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians, despite them having their own paths.

    It’s also funny that there are mature healthy trees in the median of the road – that’s not possible with 8 lanes of car exhaust all around them, is it?

  2. As mentioned by many in the comments thread to the article where you broke this news, crossing a 10-lane Lake Shore Boulevard is hardly “a relatively pleasant passage down to the lake”.

    Closing Lake Shore and developing in the space freed up beneath the Gardiner would do an awful lot more to make the waterfront accessible than taking down the elevated expressway. Increasing the width of the at-grade road may just make things worse.

    The one good thing about this is that it may put to rest the dangerous calls to upload the DVP and Gardiner to the Province from the Blue Ribbon report. If MTO was in charge of Toronto’s highways, the only change we could expect would be a widening of both.

  3. Campbell’s comment re: the rest of the Gardiner (“that will be a question for the next generation to answer”) is disillusioning – especially since City’s position is that without front st extension the west portion of Gardiner can’t come down – so FSE dead means it won’t come down… such a monumental announcement, but at the same time not what would have hoped for…. don’t want to wait a whole generation for this disaster to get fixed! I mean with the lead in times on these things, that’s probably an understatement – if we want it done for the next generation we have to start it now – do I really want to be taking my grandkids to the waterfront and have to say “there’s the Gardiner that’s going to be taken down, someday”?

  4. Well, as mentioned many times before, 8 lanes of traffic is hardly “pedestrian friendly”. Given that design we can look forward to kilometers of little or no street life and plenty of strip malls.

    I’m curious where all the cars going east on the Gardner past Jarvis are going that they need 4 lanes each way. And given that Yonge handles 80K car trips per day with 2 lanes, why do they need double the lanes for only 10K car trips? For speed?

    And while I’m here…what would be interesting is tolling the Gardner and putting a massive TTC station with a huge parking garage at the west end. Perhaps with the right pricing structure you could encourage at least some percentage of people to use transit within the city instead of a car… Opinions?

  5. I find the heavy use of the word “official” in these posts frustrating. It has not been “officially announced that the Gardiner Expressway will be dismantled” because such a decision is subject to a vote by the board of Waterfront Toronto and by City Council. It’s certainly a major change in thinking, may even be a safe bet, but it’s not “officially” the plan of record until those votes happen.

  6. I think it’s worth remembering that Chicago (you know, that Chicago whose waterfront we and lots of other people salivate over) has a quite wide (dare I say, 4 lanes each way) arterial running at grade right along the main waterfront. While it is a lot of roadway, Chicago shows that it does not have to be the barrier some people are making it out to be. In fact you have to cross 3 rather large roadways to get to the water’s edge in Chicago – hasn’t stopped anyone from idolizing their waterfront has it? The tragedy here is not that this roadway will exist at grade, it’s that the rest of the Gardiner probably isn’t going anywhere.

  7. I think this is great news. Walking around that area is a miserable experience due to the access ramps, noise echoing off the gardiner, random drips from above, and general dank-ness. I encourage any skeptics to walk down Jarvis to the lake sometime, and think about what it’s like to cross University Ave. in comparison.

    Where it crosses Jarvis, the Gardiner and associated ramps are 10 lanes wide, and a pedestrian has to make multiple crossings to get across Lakeshore. I can count at least 4 on the west side of the street looking at google maps.

    If it turns out that the road is significantly under capacity, the city can always dedicate the outer lanes for on-street parking.

  8. Why am I not surprised there are no bike lanes in the rendering? Heck, there’s not even any LRT ROW’s!

  9. I think its a little presumptuous for us to start railing on the design of the ‘grand” Lake Shore Blvd until true renderings are produced.

    Campbell and Wilson both said they did not expect transit on the grand Lake Shore, but talking to transit policy people at the news conference indicated that transit ROWs will be considered part of the EA process.

    Its believed that the Queens Quay ROW will be rather slow (avg 17km /hr) so providing a quick LRT option (500 metre apart stops) may be a viable solution on this new Lake Shore Blvd.

    (I like the comment section a lot when we debate these things so that I can always add info that couldn’t fit into my original post)

  10. What happens with the DVP? A lot of traffic will back up with a standard intersection at Lakeshore, will it not? Maybe they will swing the DVP east and open up the mouth of the Don? That might provide some interesting habitat restoration opportunities. I will miss the east bound portion between Cherry and the Don where the road undulates in relation to the structural columns. This stretch reminds me of a portico in Florence overlooking the Arno, however significantly westernized and decrepit, the vague notion of that atmosphere exists, for me. It’s a bit of a love hate thing.

  11. Re: Allen George’s comments — the 10k figure is only for the Lake Shore underneath the Gardiner. The Star story on the FSE states 120k vehicles/day on the Gardiner east of Jarvis, which is much more substantial.

    Re: Joe Clement’s comments — They are already working on habitat restoration and naturalization of the mouth of the Don.

  12. So what happens to the traffic going downtown? Public transit in that area is enough to fix the problem, so instead of a six lane highway we now have a 10 lane road (expanded from six lanes previously) and all it does is back up the traffic along the dvp (being the only highway downtown everyone goes through it almost). Think of allen rd southbound when it hits eglinton… but like 100x worse.

    Yay traffic, added pollution, and headaches downtown.

  13. What is the “official” status of this new plan and who got the contract to prepare the study and renderings for this partial take down?

    The media says that this has not even been passed by the Waterfront board yet it seems to be their official position.
    Too much goes on in the backroom when it comes to Waterfront Toronto.

  14. Wow. For years I had focused on the Gardiner west of Yonge as being the issue, but they really do have the potential to unlock a lot more value at this location. I’m feeling pretty excited at the moment.

    For those readers not familiar with New York, something very similar was done here in the 1990s when the West Side Highway was partially dismantled and converted into West Street below 57th St. The renderings above are very similar to what was actually completed here.

    West Street is a wide, traffic-laden mess but it does work in terms of being a prettified, crossable pseudo-highway that still manages to carry a lot of cars. The materials are top-notch (granite curbs, lush landscaping, cast-iron streetlamps) and that does help, along with the dedicated adjacent bikeway and pedestrian walkway. It spurred development (mostly condos) where they never would have ventured had the elevated highway remained. It’s a good solution and precedent for Toronto.

    The section that remained elevated was cleaned up in a different way, with the area under the highway converted to basketball courts and other open-air uses. It’s not nearly the eyesore it was and is quite permeable. Again, not perfect but it worked here and will work for Toronto.

    Summary with before-and-after photos:


  15. Don’t forget the 10 million does not just disappear. The Gardiner does continue all the way to the city limits, and this is only a small slice.

  16. Another thing to remember is that the Gardiner is quite low in this stretch – which has a more negative effect on the pedestrian experience (unlike the kind of cool high pillars near Fort York). So I think that taking it down will make a bigger difference to the feeling of accessibility and making the space pleasant (although there’s still the rail corridor problem) than it would further to the west.

    It would be good to try to pressure them to drop some of the lanes planned for Lakeshore. We need to get away from the idea that we need to keep car capacity when we make changes. Three lanes each way would be much more accessible than four (and would probably force traffic to travel more slowly, also making it more pleasant), and it would only have capacity problems for short stretches of the day – probably no more than many other arterials in Toronto.

  17. This is just silliness. Ten lanes of Lakeshore hell will be far worse. We need a new mayor… maybe one that focuses on getting the city we have functioning properly.

  18. Telling by the numerous posts indicating how a grand boulevard of 8 lanes is hardly “pedestrian friendly” is so narrow minded. I have travelled to many great cities in the world — Buenos Aires, Tokyo, Paris, Rio de Janiero. All these cities have grand boulevards like University Ave. in Toronto that line their waterfront. All are extremely dynamic and busy areas for all people to congregate, run, walk, shop and live. Buenos Aires has the widest street in the world at 14 lanes!!! Aviendo Julio de 9 is symbolic and gorgeous…even better than what Chicago did with its Magnificent Mile. And it cuts up and down the city like a ribbon lined with great shops, restaurants, blossoming trees, and monuments commerating Republic Day…it has beautiful fountains and tiny parks and enclaves that are a respite from the crowded city centre. Paris has the Champ Elysees…I don’t see that being that unfriendly…only the most expensive real estate in continental Europe!! It doesn’t keep tourists away from baguettes and moules and frites shops that line its streets. And Rio…it has reserved bike and pedestrian lanes running along side it grand beach boulevard…and it all occurs right next to two beaches you may have never heard of…Copacabana and Ipanema beach. I don’t think the grand boulevard in Rio prevented Frank Sinatra from writing a great song about it. Torontonians….let’s think a little more worldly here than you getting your suburban SUV gas guzzler down to Bay Street from Ajaxville. This is a legacy that borders on making Toronto’s waterfront finally apart of a league of great cities that covet their greatest resource…their water’s edge. Thankyou.

  19. Sounds excellent to me. Yes, that’s a big road, and tricky to share; but it’s a hell of a lot better than the decrepit behemoth currently in place. If this gets planned well – a big if, I know – I think this could be a wonderful evolution of this area.

  20. I walked around Cityplace for the first time the other day. From the pedestrian vantage point, I thought the buildings themselves were not unattractive, but was sad about the notable lack of interesting shops or restaurants at street level. This area is only a short walk away from the financial district, hotels, convention centre… it ought to be able to support the sort of commercial activity that would make it a pedestrian destination like the Magnificent Mile and other areas described above. (It is also *north* of the Gardiner so presumably that is not the main problem.) There are some commercial spaces at the base of condos, but they seem too sparsely spaced to allow for an attractive walking experience even if they were occupied by interesting shops. Probably as a consequence, they are mostly vacant, and the ones that are occupied have tenants that aren’t interesting enough to be a destination. The neighbourhoods in the city that are destinations for pedestrians are older ones; the newer developments like Cityplace, Queens’ Quay, Esplanade have not succeeded in this regard. I’d be interested to hear others’ thoughts on the sources of the problem, and what should be done differently. There are plenty of people living in these areas, so it is a waste that they are presumably going to other neighbourhoods to spend their time shopping or dining when they could be doing so downstairs. Tearing down the Gardiner, in itself, would not solve this problem, without a specific plan for how to design the resulting neighbourhoods differently so that they are more inviting to pedestrians.

  21. I don’t get it.

    Lakeshore is already more than 8 lanes wide at Jarvis, if you include the the Gardiner on-ramp and the Gardiner off-ramp that continues on to the DVP, parallel to Lakeshore.

    I know my math skills aren’t the greatest, but how can replacing Lakeshore (6 lanes), the Gardiner (8 lanes) and these additional ramps/roads (about 6 lanes in total) with a “grand boulevard” that is just eight lanes wide possibly result in a mere 2 minute increase in travel times?

    Although I’m guessing that the Gardiner on-ramp will be staying put, since I don’t know how else people would get onto the Gardiner at Jarvis. Which means that walking south on Jarvis, one would have to walk through the railway tunnel and then cross the lanes of traffic making up the Gardiner on ramp before reaching the first median where the pedestrians in red are standing in the rendering. That’s about 11 lanes of traffic to cross, not 8…

  22. Thank you to the thousands of ideas from the public that allowed this plan to exist, the many public meetings and input from residents really made a difference and ensured that this plan is exactly what the citizens want.And of course let’s not forget that Joe Pantalone has dropped his vision of a front street extension and therefore Liberty Village will get the transit service that the residents have been dreaming about.Oh the Utopia called Toronto !!!!LOLOL sorry for a minute there I was takeing this plan as a serious attempt to improve this city.Ok lets get back to the real issues and let city council turn our city into a moscovite dream.Or should I say a Beijing condo gem.

  23. The barrier to the waterfront has always been Lake Shore Boulevard, not the Gardiner (the Gardiner is the easy target.) The City should scrap the Lake Shore (or at lease turn it into a four lane local street) and construct a linear urban park underneath it.

    We should be considering this:

  24. Yay for that last post. Cityplace and its environs is a nightmare (a “monoculture,” as local architect Calvin Brooks called it after the Gardiner panel).

    I think that we need to focus our attention more on the quality of the streetscape.

    Let’s look at other streets in similar contexts within our own city that do work well at the pedestrian level and try to make sure that any developments follow some of those same patterns, be they narrow storefronts, “window-like” store fronts (e.g., with “sills” instead of floor-to-ceiling windows – look at all of our main walkable streets in the older neighbourhoods: College, Queen West, etc.), vertical scale (flats over stores), etc. Or even, in the case of the foot of Spadina, what about 3 blocks north, to Spadina itself, which works very well as a neighbourhood.

    Similarly, although the St. Lawrence set of mixed usage buildings are widely touted for other reasons as being a great urban planning success, I don’t believe that they serve as a magnet for other city-dwellers, like most of our other walkable neighbhourhoods do.

    And the Leslieville development, regardless of what “employers” are moving in… is still in built form not creating a neighbourhood, but stores around a parking lot! We want to be building walkable neighbourhood urban fabric, not a parking-lot driven built form!

    Oh dear, I think this warrants a whole new thread…

  25. On first look I strongly support the removal of the eastern part of the Gardiner but “the devil is in the details’ and these will not become clear until the EA gets going and we see the various options and see them compared to the present situation (the “do nothing” option always considered in EAs.) Clearly it is well worth the estimated $10 million cost for the EA to get the chance to look properly at the alternatives but why does an EA need to take 3 years?

  26. AJ:

    There are a few factors that make the quality of this “Grand Boulevard” proposal debatable which I believe aren’t present in your admittedly great examples.

    1. Depending on how they approach getting on/off the DVP, this is going to be a 1-2km long stretch of road becoming a heavily used highway at either end. People driving to work downtown via the DVP are going to crawl along on that highway, dip down to ground level until Jarvis, then back up on to the Gardiner for another km or so.

    2. There’s a rail corridor directly along the north side. There’s room for a relatively narrow linear park, probably with bike path, there, but I’m unsure that it will be possible to fit any buildings in. Many of your example streets are so great because of what is along them and the sheer mass of pedestrians they attract. A single-loaded avenue isn’t particularly grand unless the unbuilt side is looking over something beautiful (i.e. a gorge, lakefront, etc.). Why would people/businesses find this street an attraction when there’s Queen’s Quay and the actual waterfront just to the south?

    3. Said rail corridor along with the existing, quite recent, built form on the north side thereof does not leave many places for north-south connections (though its not nearly as bad as the situation further west, especially west of Bathurst). Shorter blocks encourage more pedestrians, and make areas feel closer and more connected. This section is remediable if someone will put up the money to tunnel under the tracks, but further west this would require blasting holes through condo podiums.

    4. The preliminary renderings in this article aren’t stunning. The sidewalks along either side of the street appear relatively narrow. The island in the middle seems designed to prevent pedestrians from walking along it. The big long stretches of trees in the raised area act as a visual cue to drivers that they can go fast as there’s little possibility of people attempting to cross or other road contention between modes.
    Crossing the Lake Shore today sucks and apart from adding another lane of traffic and making it prettier, this plan seems functionally identical.

    5. The takedown of the Gardiner east of the Don Valley hasn’t resulted in an inviting streetscape. It’s fairly ugly and cars absolutely zoom along. Maybe further redevelopment will make a difference there, but I’m not holding my breath. I have the utmost respect for WaterfronTO and am really looking forward to their astonishing plans being realised, but east of the DVP is the only local example we have of what to expect and it does not look good.

  27. The seemingly endless focus on the waterfront certainly reinforces the notion that some people living in northern Scarborough and northern Etobicoke have that the mayor spends way too much time on the downtown and not enough on making the city a better place in their part of town. Other than Norm Kelly the determined Scarborough-booster, is anyone else championing the improvement of the outer reaches of the city?

  28. Further to AJ’s and John Duncan’s comments —

    1) I am always amused when people refer to the Champs Elysees as an example of how a 10-lane road can still be a great pedestrian-friendly boulevard. The lanes on the Champs Elysees are somewhere around 2.6 or 2.7 metres wide. A widened Lake Shore would have lanes at least 3.3, maybe as much as 3.75, which would add up to 10 metres to the overall width (plus the median island). I would imagine the narrower lanes would also result in lower speeds. But it would never happen here.

    2) East of the DVP is a speedway partly because there are few intersections, and partly because of the roadside environment (built form etc.). Compare to University Avenue, which has intersections every 100 to 200 metres or so and which is comparatively built up. (Also, if the redevelopment we’ve had along the east Lake Shore is any indication, i.e. the Crappy Tire and potential Smart![sic]Centre, I am not holding out too much hope that further redevelopment will make much difference.)

  29. to Rob L two comments above:

    Yes, and its actually the mayor. Have you heard of a thing called Transit City?

    Transit City is almost entirely a suburban project with the aim to ease congestion in the outer reaches of the burbs.

    And anyone who watches City Hall on Rogers or follows the local politics news knows that Norm Kelly is a freakin’ joke. Good for him to “boost” for Scarborough, but he does a piss poor job at it.

  30. Interesting reading.

    First, this plan is not. It is an execution waiting for a plan to be developed to support it. Typically bass-ackwards and always a failure.

    The Mayor says this will allow us to connect to the lake. What a joke. As mentioned by others there are a few buildings and roads still blocking one’s sight line of the lake.

    And traffic… how much do you see in these cheesy illustrations. Clear deception. Or is it bait and switch.

    As for transit, notice any subway connection to pick up the new density planned for the area? Of course not. Costs too much.

    Lastly, any recognition of a simple truth in this ‘plan’? Traffic will increase in the future period. They have the numbers, the forecasts and the historical data to prove it. And I have seen it. So why are they ignoring or hiding this obvious reality? Because Miller is casting for a legacy that is large enough, cheap enough to implement and more meaningful than canceling a bridge.

    This is a one note idea from a one note mayor. He has never considered anything other than tearing down the Gardiner and keeps throwing money recycling plans and EA’s to rehash the same POV. Notice these are the same illustrations from the 2006 plan he purchased.

    If we want a ‘great city’ let’s start with ‘great thinking’. Frankly, the same great thinking that created the the Gardiner more than 40 years ago and was hailed as a great accomplishment in its day.

    Are there creative, serviceable and meaningful ways to solve this issue beyond the single idea to date? YES.

    As demonstrated by this example, Miller thinks cheap not great and certainly not with vision or effectiveness. He has never had a great idea so he wouldn’t know that such ideas attract funding beyond the ordinary because everyone recognizes their potential.

    Sadly, he never will.

  31. Toronto Waterfront Viaduct anyone?

  32. All the pictures of linear parks under bridges do not seem very attractive to me. The ability to observe what’s happenning from far away seems far too low for safety. I am skeptical of the anti-Lakeshore, pro-Gardiner stance.

    Cars that are on a road are cars that haven’t arrived at their destination. Getting rid of roadspace reduces traffic. Mexico City got rid of a very crowded highway, and the traffic simply disappeared. It wasn’t going anywhere in the first place — it was just parked in motion.

    As some have noted, the area isn’t even a bottleneck. Reducing capacity in a non-bottleneck doesn’t cause jams.

    Certainly, we should be expanding TTC and GO lines in the area. But this is a good reinvention regardless.

  33. I have read a lot of different opinions about and plans for the Gardiner Expressway during the time I’ve been writing about the Waterfront for Spacing, and I have mixed-feelings about this announcement. For a long time I chimed in with the voices that wished to see the Gardiner torn down, but I’m no longer sure this is the best solution for eliminating barriers from the waterfront and reducing car-dependence by the lake.

    I agree with the numerous posters who have suggested that the real barriers to the waterfront are the Lakeshore and the rail lines, with the Gardiner coming up as a distant third. Admittedly, I haven’t read the specifics of the proposed plan for the widened Boulevard where the Lakeshore in a while, but I find it tough to imagine a widened road being less of a barrier than the one that exists now. (As a counterpoint, Spadina is a wide street that sees plenty of pedestrian traffic in spite of its width, but there are lots of other factors at work there).

    Also, the Gardiner, like it or not, is part of Toronto’s heritage. The book “Concrete Toronto” goes a long way towards reclaiming the oft-maligned concrete structures in the city as cultural landmarks, and the Gardiner is such a structure. It might not be the most beautiful example of infrastructure or city planning, but it is a part of our history. In the Lower Donlands Design competition, most of the competing firms – including Michael Van Valkenburgh’s, which won – wanted to emphasize the eastern section of the Gardiner rather than destroy it, comparing it (and I’m loosely paraphrasing here) to the arches of cathedral. Too much of the city’s heritage has been destroyed in the name of progress already.

    The Gardiner could be re-used for so many good purposes: elevated bike lanes, an elevated linear park . . . These ideas might seem far-fetched, but I think it might be worth taking a long, hard creative look at possible future uses of the elevated structure before declaring it a blight and barrier and spending huge sums of cash to tear it down.

  34. leo
    FYI the area is undergoing considerable redevelopment, that’s why large traffic increases versus current capacity are an issue. Additionally, to provide access in and out so you don’t create a problem like the beaches.

    Add to that are natural traffic increases in the future. Non of this is addressed in the Mayor’s ‘plan’.

    Also ignored is real transit such as integrating all transit and transportation into one entity which is what I would propose for the Gardiner.

    This is a thin veil to appear to be doing something with cost in mind.

    Unfortunately, that’s all we hear.

  35. For the record, I live downtown. For 11 years I took the DVP to work. For the past 4 months, I have taken the Gardiner. I get on and off at Jarvis every day. What is being proposed is suicide.

    1. Yes, the Gardiner is ugly. Would we build it today? No. But it is all we have. It should be widened, or better yet, a 16 lane tunnel under the harbor – but that is dreaming, isnt’ it?
    2. Take the cost estimates and triple them. See: Skydome. See: Pickering Nuclear. Governments have no handle on doing anything on time or on budget.
    3. What about the dozen lanes of train tracks? Aren’t they pretty? I love the steel skeleton under the tracks at Sherbourne and Parliament. The pigeon droppings are great for walking on.
    3. See: Eglinton Ave/Allen Rd. for the future.
    4. Are we forgetting that the traffic lights along the Lakeshore are 3-way? Has anyone seen the typical ramp tie-ups NOW on Jarvis on a weekday evening? Those are downtown dwellers going home, by the way.
    5, 76% of the people in this city drive to work. (The Toronto Star’s own figures.) Stop social engineering and start obeying the people.

    Take care in comparing Toronto to other cities. Central Toronto is a transportation fiasco. Would the city father’s 75 years ago had the foresight to widen Yonge, Kingston Rd., Parkside, Bloor/Danforth, O’Connor, Mt.Pleasant…well, you get the idea. Even Vancouver has 6 lane arterial roads in the central city: Kingsway, Hastings, etc. Toronto needs expressways because the city was very badly laid out. The grid only works if the grid is ringed with 6 or 8 lane arterial roads.
    80 floors on the corner of Yonge/Bloor? Where are those cars going?
    Look at a map of Toronto. Really look at it. There is a black hole east of Bathurst, as King, College, Davenport, and others disappear. How is one to go east-west? Bloor is one lane all day. St. Clair is under seige. Oh, that’s right – we can drive all the way north to Eglinton. Oops, it is one lane eastbound, too. Sorry.
    How about north-south? Leslie St. ends, Bayview ends, Yonge St. is permanently plugged.

    Is anyone really in charge of this city? When the Gardiner is stopped on Christmas Day, there is something seriously wrong. This is not about commuters, this is about families coming to the Island or a game and tourists being confronted with traffic that rivals L.A. This is about all those lovely condos. Do you think none of those people drive? The Gardiner is stopped EASTBOUND in the morning, as well as WESTBOUND. Now that is progress!

    I walk my dog at Sunnyside, Queens Quay and Cherry Beach 12 months of the year. (He is a Husky and loves the cold!) Let me tell you, I am very, very lonely for 9 of those months.

    Let’s spend the money on the parks we have, and forget about blowing cash we don’t have on pie-in-the-sky dreams just because a bunch of politicians want a ‘legacy.’

  36. I was recently in Toronto visiting someone who lives near Jarvis. Having walked around down to this area, I honestly believe it would be better not to have the Gardiner overtop, it is dark and dreary.

    But after crossing under the expressway, the waterfront in this area seemed very industrial, and the sugar factory takes up what could be the nicest area in downtown Toronto.

    Why is it so industrial so close to the waterfront downtown?

  37. “Why is it so industrial so close to the waterfront downtown?”

    Please tell me this isn’t a serious question. Read a history book already. Something that starts: “once upon a time, before text messaging, before Starbucks, before there were arts grants for painting a wall a single shade of red…”

  38. Mark it’s an honest question. People also often wonder why there are farms at the top edge of the city.

  39. I disagree with the fact that some people wants to destroy the Gardiner Expressway.It’s not

    really important that the tourists gets a look at the Ontario Lake.Several people actually take

    that road every morning to get to work.If the destroy the Gardener Expressway,people won’t

    be able to take that road for more than 4 years,because it will be under construction.If the

    Gardiner Expressway gets under construction,people won’t be able to use it for a long

    time,and they’ll have to take another path,which will cause a lot of traffic every day.Traffic

    will cause lates,which will cause financial loss to the company and the government.If they

    demolish the Gardiner Expressway to construct another Boulevard,it will cost in between

    200 million and 400 millions dollars.The city won’t be able to pay that much,which will cause

    a tax in cress.

  40. Why Jarvis? Why not at Spadina? Of course David Miller said demolishing the Gardiner between Jarvis and the DVP will only add 3 minutes to our commute….because there’s nothing there. We all get off at the Spadina or Bay exit.

  41. Then I guess the off-ramp to Jarvis being backed up to the top (about 4 blocks long) at 5 pm many days must be an illusion then?

  42. I believe that tearing down an expressway and replacing it with a signalized boulevard is the wrong way to go. I also don’t like the way the Gardiner and DVP will become disconnected as a through freeway.

    It is better for the environment and safer for pedestrians if there are no traffic lights on this stretch of road. There are other options which will work better than the proposed signalized boulevard.

    Personally, I think the Gardiner should stay in place and the underside of it can be improved.

    However, if it does come down (which I doubt), then one of three things should happen to keep the traffic flowing and make it safer for pedestrians.

    1 The boulevard could have grade-separated intersections, where 6 of the 8 lanes pass under or over cross-streets and the outer 2 lanes serve as ‘ramps’ coming to signalized intersections with the cross-streets.

    2 Reduce the boulevard to a more local road with bike lanes and build express ramps along the parallel railway berm from the expressway west of Jarvis to the DVP.

    3. Replace this section of the elevated expressway with the Toronto Waterfront Viaduct – a beautiful cable-stayed viaduct above the rail corridor, which will also allow for a more local boulevard with bike lanes where the expressway exists now. This would also give the Toronto Waterfront that ‘wow’ factor that the Waterfront Toronto agency is looking for.

    These three options would work and if all three levels of government contribute to the costs (as planned), then they are achievable.

  43. Even if Michael I. and the Federal Liberals form the next Government of Canada, I do not see them coughing up money to tear down the Gardiner! They would be busy spending money on health care, affordable housing, environment, daycare, transit, etc,

  44. Time for Toronto to grow some balls! Just take the damn thing down and replace it with the boulevard or put the expressway in a trench. JUST DO IT AND LET’S GET ON WITH THE WATERFRONT PROJECTS!!!

  45. Yes, by all means: let’s build more waterfront parks that the city can’t afford to maintain. Taken a walk through Sunnyside, Balfour or even most of High Park these days? Derelict, run down, filthy are all words that come to mind.
    Garbage is not picked up, the water is filthy, beaches disgusting with weeds and goose sh#t, but – hey, great idea! Let’s build more parkland we only use for 3 months of the year.

  46. Mind you, the boulevard would still be busy with cars, taxis, TTC buses, vans, 18-wheelers whizzing down the roadway to the DVP, downtown and the Gardiner Expressway.

  47. The Port Lands development, which will be connected to the city by removing the Gardiner, is not about more waterfront parks – it’s about creating homes and jobs for tens of thousands of people without destroying a single acre of farm land. This project is huge – on the scale of Vancouver’s False Creek redevelopment.

    At eight lanes Lakeshore is not pedestrian friendly. I would prefer to see two parallel one-way streets with a narrow block between them. Think Adelaide and Richmond. Only four lanes each, which is much more pedestrian friendly, parking on both sides outside of rush hour, and small block size to encourage development of a mixed-use district.

    On another note – in the “Viaduct” proposal there are copies of traffic volume reports. About 25% of the load comes from each of Spadina, York and Jarvis, with the rest being through traffic.

    One very attractive idea from that proposal is to put shops underneath the elevated railway berm east of Yonge. I saw this done very effectively in Berlin and other German cities, and I believe we even have an example at Summerhill and Yonge here in Toronto – and to a lesser extent with Air Canada Place/Union Station. This is an excellent way of weaving the “barrier” right into the fabric of the city.

  48. Living downtown, I discover very fast that I
    don’t even need a car to get around, getting rid
    of this road would be great! think how I
    will have my res value go up, no more noise except for the airport thats next to go,, and
    there won’t be anymore traffic because everyone will
    know to leave TO to us, as they can’t get in or out now,,we don’t need any roads there it will just make more exhaust for our pets. aside from the tax to take that ugg down, we don’t need these people, and there thinking this city is their’s in some part. they live in a different part of it. stay away. There’s allways yonge from the north.

  49. the city is bankrupt but can always come up w new ways to waste money. Having an expressway end up at a red light. Think the Allen Road times 2!! brilliant

  50. Every major city that I’ve been in has at at least 2 highways that bypass the city and at least one near the downtown. Toronto currently has the QEW/Gardiner/DVP to 401 eastbound route, along with QEW/403 (or 427)/401 eastbound from the southwest and the 401 or 407 from the more northwest. If the Gardiner no longer connects with the DVP, then all traffic from the southwest will end up on the 401, rendering it virtually impassable. As I live near High Park, the best route for me to take to get to Markham, where my mother lives, is the Gardiner/DVP/404 and I see many other cars using that route to get from one end of the city to the other without going into the downtown area. Montreal is better served by expressways. Trashing the Gardiner will only add to congestion. Having Lakeshore Blvd. and the Gardiner as parallel options is actually great design. It’s like the parallel subway lines in New York – express trains only stop at the major stations and local trains stop at every station, so the express trains get from one end to the other much faster and are much more efficient for people going to a major stop or from one end to the other.

  51. Please sign this petition to stop the Gardiner Expressway from being torn down.