Thursday, September 28, 2006

Tearing Down The Highway

There are certain plans announced every year in Toronto whose sole purpose is to be announced, never to be fulfilled.

The Leafs' plan to win the Cup is one.

The waterfront redevelopment scheme is another.

And tearing down the Gardiner Expressway is the most frequently announced of all.

So here we go again with the usual:

Toronto should raze the Gardiner Expressway and replace it with a tree-lined boulevard, according to a report withheld for the past two years.

The Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation (TWRC) report, which was finally released yesterday, urges the city to demolish an expressway that carries 16,000 vehicles each day and replace it with a 10-lane avenue with wide sidewalks and generous medians. John Campbell, the TWRC's president and chief executive, said this new "University Avenue-type boulevard" could serve as the centrepiece for the rejuvenation of the city's central waterfront.

"This is really the time to take a bold step forward," Mr. Campbell said. "This is an unprecedented opportunity to try and create the city we want."

Construction would take five years and cost $758-million. With four years of environmental assessments and other preparations needed before demolition could begin, it would take nearly a decade to complete the project from the time it is approved by city council.

Interestingly enough, every proposal for getting rid of the Gardiner says the same thing; traffic will be slower, and likely heavier, but the supposed psychological barrier between the city and the waterfront will disappear. As though the Gardiner were responsible for keeping people and business from the waterfront.

Never mind that the Gardiner cuts down on a significant amount of traffic in the city. Our progressive urban planners must have the city beautiful, even at the expenses of the commuters ugly.

Wait for whatever plan for the Gardiner to turn into our own version of Boston's Big Dig; a multi-billion dollar boondoggle that fails to meet budget, deadlines, and expectations.

Source: National Post

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is not a raised highway with lanes underneath it able to carry more traffic than the same width of lanes on the ground? Unless of course you take MORE LAND, to obtain the same number of lanes on the ground. Why spend money to do this? Just so the view is a bit better? Better for who?

The best option is for the city to offer the job to private investment eg. replace the vehicle access with a tunnel and have them build or obtain rights to build over the underground expressway. But somehow that option got lost at communist city hall?