Front Street explained
Councillors Adam Vaughan (Ward 20 – Trinity Spadina) and Gord Perks (Ward 14– Parkdale High Park) failed in their bid to kill the Front StreetExtension, the most talked-about non-existent road in the city’s history,which would pave Front Street from Bathurst to Dufferin and link it to theGardiner Expressway. Curiously, a final decision about Front Street has beenput off until council can debate whether or not to tear down the Gardiner.
For those who are unclear about the relationship between the two, here’syour briefing note. Some seven years ago, around the time when Torontoniansfirst began to truly let themselves dream about life without an elevatedGardiner, a transportation engineer who’d worked for the city explained itto me like so: Tearing down the Gardiner will reduce its capacity, he said,which was a problem, because it would limit the city’s potential growth, andcould even cause it to shrink—if people can’t get downtown, employers willlocate elsewhere. But the Front Street Extension would alleviate theproblem, because it would give cars an additional place to exit theexpressway and disperse into the city grid. Ergo: demolish Gardiner + extendFront Street = no net loss of capacity for cars entering the city.
But if you don’t tear down the expressway, the equation looks like this:Gardiner stays put + extend Front Street = an increase in capacity for carsentering the city, and a huge gift to car-commuters coming from points west.This debate about the Gardiner, whenever it happens, ought to be full offireworks.
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