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The city is leaning towards tearing down part of the Gardiner Expressway

The city is leaning towards tearing down part of the Gardiner Expressway
An architectural rendering of a torn-down Gardiner Expressway. (Image: Courtesy of the city)

The city has been trying to figure out what to do with the Gardiner Expressway for 30 years, but now, with the prospect of "punch-through" lending a little additional urgency to the issue, it’s looking like something major may happen soon. Today, city staff and Waterfront Toronto released a joint report that outlines several solutions. The most favoured option? Tear it down.

Not the whole thing, that is, but just the 2.4 kilometre elevated section east of Jarvis Street. That stretch of road would be replaced with a ground-level eight-lane boulevard. It wouldn’t be an unprecedented move. A stretch of the Gardiner between Leslie Street and the Don River was torn down about 15 years ago.

In its analysis, the city considered three other options: maintenance, improvement and replacement. While the report doesn’t make any official recommendations, it does identify demolition as the least disruptive option based on a list of dozens of criteria. Ultimately, it will be up to city council to decide whether or not to move ahead with the tear-down—a choice that will likely become an issue in the 2014 mayoral campaign.

Rob Ford and several right-leaning councillors have already come out against the idea. Ford, for his part, believes the move would “cause traffic chaos.” The city is estimating that the change would increase travel times by about 10 minutes each way for the average driver in 2031. For the time being, we wait.

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