How to deal with the Gardiner Expressway: a history of solutions that have never come to pass
Dealing with the Gardiner Expressway is never going to be easy. Critics say it’s a costly eyesore that partially blocks access to the waterfront. Boosters say it brings millions of people into downtown. No wonder the Gardiner has inspired so many city planners and architects to make the roadway more palatable to Torontonians. A new idea, reported in the Star today, is to turn it into a giant tube. According to originator Peter Michno, encasing the Gardiner would transform this utilitarian piece of infrastructure into a work of art that would improve aesthetics while reducing traffic noise.
His is just the latest in a series of ideas that have surfaced over the past few years. We thought we’d take this opportunity to review some hilarious, improbable and fun proposals that are supposed to help us start loving the Gardiner.
1. Bury it, Boston style
Architect Babak Eslahjou still has faith that burying the Gardiner is the way to go0. After all, Boston successfully buried one of its central highways—and only went $12 billion over budget.
2. Turn it into Utopia
As part of his mayoral campaign, Giorgio Mammoliti wanted to ban cars from the Gardiner. His plan would have freed the space up for trains, cyclists, pedestrians and skaters, along with 12 sky parks. It would have been funded, for the most part, by a shiny new casino. All that was missing was the unicorn petting zoo.
3. Give it a green roof
Last year, Quadrangle Architects suggested covering the Gardiner with a roof and putting parks on it. New York City did it first, so that makes it okay for Toronto, right?
4. Tear it down
In 2006, the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation suggested nixing 4.5 kilometers of the Gardiner, from the DVP to Spadina, and expanding Lake Shore to 10 lanes.
5. Replace it with a cable-suspended viaduct
Toronto Waterfront Viaduct has proposed a cable-suspended structure to host “all modes of transportation.” Underneath, a SkyPath would ostensibly become Toronto’s “hanging gardens of Babylon” (though we suppose simply calling them “hanging gardens” would suffice).
6 thoughts on “How to deal with the Gardiner Expressway: a history of solutions that have never come to pass”
I don’t get the fuss with the Gardiner. It’s an eyesore? So are lots of things in Toronto, including billboards, dirty alleys and laneways, a cemented downtown, etc, etc.
I think it’s forward thinking to make the Gardiner an aesthetically pleasing tube. It’s an interesting solution.
We need to think about the urban environment more and this is a good point. Lets try and make city spaces as nice as possible to live in. Have a look at what Melbourne Australia has done with their citylink motorway. Sure makes things a lot more pleasant when driving.
Can everybody admit that both sides are right? The Gardiner is an ugly psychological barrier to the waterfront but its a necessary piece of infrastructure. If the goal is to integrate the waterfront with the rest of the city without losing a valuable asset then the solution is simple:
Fix Lake Shore Blvd. Make it walkable, put in LRT, make it crossable, make it bikeable, put in some stuff!
Drivers already have one highway here and I would hope they would let go of the second one without much of a fight. If we make the ground level a nice place to be, I suspect we’ll look at the underbelly a little differently.
I hope a solution can be found soon. Every attempt has been made to allow us to use this highway everyday and people need to appreciate it. A day could come that we can no longer use it. I use this highway to get downtown and would miss it if it was gone. But no one can deny work needs to be done soon. Look at these photos from the last time I was on the Gardiner Expressway and see that the concrete is in poor condition. http://braindeadhick.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/undergardinerexpressway1.jpg and http://braindeadhick.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/undergardinerexpressway2.jpg
Thirty years from now there will be more trucks to feed Torontos rising population. These trucks need roads. Put the Gardiner out in lake Ontario from Burlington to 401 east, connect at 427 and Young .Put parking lot with transit connect. There will be alot less noise and air pollution. Build some polders ,sell the land to pay for the new toll road. You can use Torontos garbage ashes like they do in Tokyo for fill saving more money.
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