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New Proposal for Gardiner Expressway

Committee votes to defer decision about expressway's future until 2015, while staff consider new plan from developer.

Recently, a staff report that considered what should be done with the Gardiner Expressway concluded that the best option would be to tear down the 2.4-kilometre stretch running east of Jarvis. Yesterday, councillors on the public works committee opted to defer any decision about the expressway’s fate until 2015 and voted 4-1 to send the report back to City staff.

Councillors also asked staff to investigate a new option, one that comes courtesy of a developer: David Gerofsky, CEO of First Gulf, has proposed that the eastern leg of the Gardiner be realigned and shifted south of the railway corridor. It would then proceed east, eventually connecting with the Don Valley Parkway—the raised section near Cherry Street would be removed and replaced with a ground-level roadway.

First Gulf would like to see these Gardiner plans realized, because they would promote the company’s larger development aims: it wants to build 15 million square feet of office space at what was once the Unilever site on Lake Shore Boulevard, and realigning the Gardiner would open up access to the area. If this all comes to pass, the developer would also build a GO station, and the City could extend Broadview south to the Port Lands, making possible a future streetcar line expansion.

UPDATE: March 5, 2014, 2:30 p.m. This post has been updated with images provided by First Gulf.


  • Lee Zamparo

    A proposal worth studying, to be sure. I’d like to see them go in with the city on part of the costs for the East Bayfront LRT too.

  • Paul Kishimoto

    Someone should ask First Gulf whether the value of their parcel and planned development is related more to East Bayfront, Broadview, and GO transit access, or to the presence of the Gardiner.

    More broadly, the fact that a developer can chime in late in the process like this and the whole thing has to be returned for study does not create confidence in the scope of alternatives originally selected for consideration.

    Who’s to say that when this returns to Council in 2015 we won’t discover that some OTHER worthy option (developer-proposed or not) or important impact has been omitted, necessitating yet another deferral and yet more study? Is anyone talking to the City Planning Division?

    • Dogma

      Short answer, Yes, you’re right. Only slightly longer answer, Council was looking to push it back anyway so this was just an excuse to do so.

    • Lee Zamparo

      It’s hardly late in the process, it’s about the right time. Based on yesterday’s meeting, the usual suspects on the Public Works Committee were making ‘Traffic chaos’ noises about the Remove option, so this gives city planning more time to assuage their fears.

      I would have liked to see First Gulf enter the competition from which Maintain, Improve, Remove were chosen, but that’s how the cookie crumbles. As Dogma says, the committee wanted to push this back anyhow, and this is a fine opportunity to do so. I’m still partial to Remove, but if First Gulf can make a sweet offer that includes some funding for the East Bayfront LRT, this can be a win for the city.

      • Paul Kishimoto

        “assuage their fears” — true, that’s a good point.

        “competition from which … were chosen” — was there a competition? I don’t know…almost seems like someone drew up a list and sent it to staff.

        I hope city staff interpolates some flexibility into their directions (i.e. considers other good options even if not specifically directed by council), and I hope they negotiate with First Gulf. The funding you mention would be great, but it shouldn’t induce or require the city to pick any specific proposal.

        • Lee Zamparo

          There was a competition, held approximately a year ago. There’s probably an article on Torontoist describing the four main categories of proposals: remove, replace, improve, bury.

          Re: negotiate with First Gulf, I should hope so too. I doubt this falls under section 37, but maybe it would. Does this section span ward boundaries?

  • ZachSwan

    What’s that? A developer is going to cover the cost of building a transit station? Privately-funded? Holy crap! I swear all I’ve been hearing for the past three years (in relation to subway expansion) is that this’ll never happen. Interesting.

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      A GO platform and ticket counter isn’t exactly like tens of kilometres of tunnel and a half-dozen subway stations.

    • Lee Zamparo

      Yeah, pump the brakes ZS. It’s not a big outlay for the developer. For them to get real, they’d have to pony up some $$$ for the East Bayfront LRT at the least.

  • Alan

    I thought the whole point of the study was to find the option that would be most economical for the city? I’m fairly certain that a reconfigured rebuild is going to cost a lot more than removal or maintenance. My prediction: we’re going to end up blowing $500 million on building so that the 3% of commuters that use this stretch don’t have to wait 5 extra minutes in traffic. What a surprise! Once again, subsidizing wasteful suburban lifestyles so that schmucks like Karen Stintz and Rob Ford can get re-elected. Yayyyyyy Toronto.

    • Pluckysod

      There’s a lot more at stake than the inconvenience of 3% of communters, as you put it. The real question is what is the greater divider here: traffic on a eight-lane highway at ground level or traffic on an elevated highway. As this area, north and south of the railway, is about to be packed to the gills with huge condo developments, full of people who want to walk to work in the downtown, the answer is clear: Keep the traffic away from pedestrians. Keep it up on the Gardiner.

      • Lee Zamparo

        Pedestrian over / underpasses can mitigate this problem. Raised highways are a loser engineering decision in this climate. Maybe it could be slightly below grade, to minimize the noise generated (as is the stretch West of Dufferin towards Roncesvalles.

  • Seb

    Why is this NEVER on the table…

    The entire Gardiner needs to come down, just removing a portion of it is ridiculous in my opinion.