The Friday Rant: Do We REALLY Need To Discuss The Gardiner?

GardinerHybrid

I think I’m going to make a really great “crotchety, old man.”

Every time I read the newspaper, I get visibly upset.  Everything in there bothers me.

And for the life of me, I can’t understand why anybody thinks that removing the Gardiner Expressway is good for the long-term health and viability of Toronto.

I wanted to talk about real estate today, and I didn’t want to touch this subject because it gets me so angry, but I guess I want to know what other people think…

GardinerHybrid

24-21

That was the result of vote at City Hall today.

I’m absolutely astounded that twenty-one people think it’s a good idea to tear down the east portion of the Gardiner Expressway.

Where do I even start with this blog post?

Calm.  Cool.  Collect thoughts.

Okay, go…

I suppose the very first discussion point here is this: “What is Toronto?”

I know that sounds too simplistic, but what do you think of, when you think, “Toronto?”

To the left-leaning residents, simpletons, and much of the political brain-trust at City Hall, Toronto is a happy-go-lucky town for families.  Yes, families.  That is the most-used word by any politician, anywhere.

In reality, Toronto is a metropolis.  The Greater Toronto Area is home to close to seven million people, and the downtown core is the centre of it all.

Toronto isn’t small.  It’s massive.  It’s incredibly dense, and it’s growing out of control.

The delusions people have about the city of Toronto are clearly demonstrated when we talk about tearing down one of the few pieces of infrastructure we have in a city that has, quite possibly, the worst infrastructure of any city in Canada – relative to its population, of course.

My fear is that the twenty-one Toronto city councilors that voted against the “Hybrid Option” for the Gardiner are those that still think of Toronto as this nice, quiet little place north of the border, when in reality, it’s going to grow exponentially over the coming years.

Because the reality is – we don’t need to just keep the Gardiner Expressway, we need three more just like it!  In the same way that we need more than just the Eglinton LRT, and its construction today defines the phrase, “way too little, way too late,” we could also use an 8-lane, underground parkway beneath the Lakeshore to help ease traffic in a city that’s exploding at the seams.

How about a lane of traffic in the sky while we’re at it?  Seriously – the way Toronto is growing, and the way we’re running out of room on the ground, it’s not that bad an idea…

This insane idea that Toronto is a town for “families” was exemplified by the insane thinking of Pam McConnell, who is the city councilor for Ward 28 where the Gardiner is located, when she talked on Wednesday about how removing the Gardiner would allow an area for shops, restaurants, green space, and…….wait for it……a place for families to flock to!

Does anybody really think that an 8-lane super-highway is going to be lined with ice-cream parlours and gourmet cheese shops?  And will families really seek out the former Gardiner Expressway on-ramp, now-turned fishing pond and water fountain?

One city councilor called it “pie in the sky thinking,” and I have to agree.

This isn’t a game of Sim City where you can start from scratch.

We have what we have, already.

And we have a city that is bursting at the seams as infrastructure has been ignored for decade after decade.

I refuse to accept the idea that repurposing the lands where the Gardiner Expressway is located will somehow inject life into the city, or add space for a roller-rink for kids.

And to those who call the Gardiner Expressway “unsightly” or a “blight,” or to those that suggest it’s “ruined the Waterfront,” that ship said a long, long time ago!  The minute we allowed the Waterfront to be congested with condominiums was when the tide turned.  And don’t think just because I sell condos for a living, that I wouldn’t have been fully in support of a long-term vision for a beautiful Toronto waterfront – one without condos.  But the condos started coming in the 1990’s, and they never stopped.

Toronto will N-E-V-E-R have a “beautiful waterfront,” and isn’t the Gardiner Expressway sandwiched in between those waterfront condos and the other buildings (many of which are condos….) north of Lake Shore Boulevard anyways?

At a time when Toronto is about to host an event (the Pam Am Games) that will blissfully expose us as a shadow of a world-class city, with only enough infrastructure to support half of our population, you’d think that the city would be concerned with moving forward, and building for the future.

The city of Toronto is choking with congestion.

Our roads and highways are lacking, and our city transit is pathetic.

So why aren’t we building, rather than tearing down?

Another argument I refuse to accept is the cost.

People say, “It’s going to cost $919 Million to build this Hybrid option.”

So what?  Is that a lot of money?  Spread over how many years?  And how many people live in Toronto?

The amazing part is – tearing down the Gardiner isn’t free!  It’s going to cost $461 Million!  So when people act as though $919 Million to build a Hybrid Gardiner is a lot, perhaps they think that this giant concrete highway can be removed by waving a magic wand?

Long-term.

That’s what I want to think about.

What is best for the long-term success of the City of Toronto?

And let’s not let those with pathetically-transparent agendas weigh in, either.

Remember THIS article in the Globe & Mail last week?

A “coalition of influential developers and business leaders” oppose rebuilding the Gardiner Expressway.

Reeeeeeeeally, eh?

From the article:

“The heads of 14 businesses – mostly developers who, between them, own or control 51 hectares of the city’s waterfront – wrote a letter Friday urging the mayor to rethink his position on the Gardiner Expressway at city council next week. The group, which calls itself the “CityBuilders”, wants the portion of the Gardiner east of Jarvis removed.”

Oh, yeah, they’re not pushing their own agenda at all, are they?

These guys own all the land down there, and removing the Gardiner would probably only make them hundreds of millions of dollars.

The article continues:

“Either we’re going to be a great city that is a beacon for the 21st century or we’re going to take a step backward to the 1960s or the midpoint of the last century,” said Alfredo Romano, president of real estate developer Castlepoint Numa, in an interview.

“All of us feel quite strongly that the boulevard option will present the most accessible and most user-friendly waterfront and present an opportunity for us to remove what we consider to be a significant blight.”

$*@&%!#&$#

I want to smack this guy.

Seriously?

A “blight,” he calls it?

“Accessible and user-friendly waterfront?”

That’s industrial wasteland down there.  It would take a thousand years to clean up some of that sludge that exists just south of the Lake Shore Boulevard, at Cherry.

I’m a capitalist by nature, but I don’t know if I could do what this guy did – and put my name on that nonsense.  He, along with his other “coalition members,” stand to make obscene piles of money if the Gardiner is removed, zoning regulations are changed, and they’re allowed to do as they see fit.

And what’s to stop them from just building more condos?

Will these condos have ice cream parlours, gourmet cheese shops, and roller-rinks for families?

So here we have fourteen business owners, who stand to gain massively from the Gardiner’s removal, and we’re, for some reason, listening to what they want?

Yet another argument I refuse to accept: “Removing the Gardiner will only add a few short minutes for a few drivers.”

That’s nonsense.

I’ve read the reports – on how removing the Gardiner might add 3-4 minutes of commute time.  Where the hell is that coming from?

It’s like “legal experts,” as my father always told me: the defence will pay an “expert” to say what they want him to say, and the prosecution will pay an “expert” to say the complete opposite.

I rather enjoyed this in Wednesday’s Toronto Sun:

1.9Million

So there’s my expert to refute the people who suggest “it really won’t make that much a difference.”

I guess the lefties don’t ever drive?

So let’s tear down the “unsightly, blight” that is the Gardiner, and allow “families” to “flock to” the area where the Gardiner currently stands?

A Global TV reporter called this debate “left versus right,” and at first I thought he was wrong.  But when I see people suggesting “a few drivers will add a few minutes to their commute,” I have to wonder what would happen if a fat, right-wing mouth was opened:

Maybe something like this:

“Well, you know what else is ‘unsightly?’  The homeless.  They’re a ‘blight.’  Let’s remove them.  And you know what else?  If we were to cut off all social assistance to low-income families, then a few people might have a few questions to answer to at that blight of a dinner table.”

Well, perhaps the 14 land-bankers that own 51 hectares of real estate south of the Gardiner can help those homeless and low-income families?

Two ideas that have been absolutely panned:

1) Selling or leasing the Gardiner (Josh Colle)
2) Erecting toll roads for non-Torontonians (James Pasternak)

Any opponents to the first option will simply scream “407!  407!  407!”

But citizens have short memories.

You’d have thought that all Tim Hudak had to do to win the last provincial election was scream “Gas Plant!  Ornge Scandal!  Deleted Emails!”

Sure, leasing the 407 for a billion years was probably a mistake, and CPPIB and Cintra are laughing all the way to the bank (and their kids, and their kids’ kids will be laughing as well…).  But the private sector has been, and always will be, more efficient than the public sector, and the ongoing problems with maintaining the Gardiner surely would be lessened.

As for toll roads, I’ve always thought it merits consideration.

Every morning, residents of Oakville, Hamilton, Burlington, St, Catharines, Niagara Falls, Brampton, and other areas, drive east along the Gardiner, into Toronto, and yet they pay no taxes here.

They use the Gardiner Expressway, but they don’t pay for it.

We pay for it.  Torontonians.  And many Torontonians don’t use it.

I’m positive, based on our feeble political track record at the municipal level, that city council would find a way to completely mess this up.  I can just imagine the long line for toll payments…

But try telling the public that yet another pick of their pocket is good for them, and they’ll strongly disagree.  Here’s a poll from the Toronto Sun:

GardinerPoll

Anyways, we could debate this all day.

And if it’s up to Pam McConnell, who says that she’ll “take every legal step” to fight the Hybrid Gardiner rebuild, then we’ll end up bickering about this for years.

Isn’t that why we have such poor public transit?  Because we couldn’t agree on what to build, for years on end, so nothing got built?

I suppose in the end, everybody has an opinion.  And some are wild – like this guy who commented on a BlogTO article:

GardinerBlogTO

Holy crap.

Now we’re going to tear down ALL of the Gardiner?

Then where will we drive?

Oh, wait.  Maybe this guy wants us all to ride bikes?

Perhaps that is the answer for this quaint, little town called “Toronto”…

35 Comments

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  1. Neil Mclntyre says:

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  2. Alex says:

    I know this is just a rant and an opinion, but I thought I would send you some helpful facts anyway. My councilor sent all those on his mailing list a really detailed email explaining how he made his decision on the gardiner based on the facts he was presented with. You can read the whole thing here: http://joshmatlow.ca/component/content/article/11-issues/1673-the-gardiner-expressway-east.html

    Basically the debate comes down to whether or not Toronto residents should pay $458 million (for now, we all know it will be much more) to save GTA drivers a couple minutes (the report says 52 seconds but I’m being pessimistic here and assuming a couple minutes each direction). If the money was coming from the rest of the GTA as well then I would be less disappointed in our council, but it is coming solely from us. Toronto does desperately need better infrastructure, but we alone cannot pay for it. Unfortunately politicians gain more votes bashing cities than they do helping them, so our country’s urban infrastructure will continue to crumble until this changes.

    I’d also like to point out something that really upset me from the report:
    “During the morning rush (or, AM Peak) hour, only 5,200 drivers use this section of the Gardiner. As a point of comparison, this usage rate is similar to peak hour ridership on a busy TTC bus route such as the Eglinton West 32, Don Mills 25, or Dufferin 29.”

    So basically city council voted to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to save primarily non-residents a couple minutes. But if anyone ever suggested spending this amount of money on a single bus route that would help the same amount of people who are primarily residents of the city, they would be laughed out of council. Also the Sun would come up with some sort of epic pun about it. We also talk about spending $2 – $3 billion on a subway relief line being ridiculous, but that’s only 4 – 6 times more than what we are considering spending on the gardiner, and the subway handles a lot more than 4-6 times the load of the gardiner during rush hour (Bloor, the busiest station, has ~100000 people pass through every day, though I couldn’t find any more detailed numbers that broke it down by hour, source: http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=c077c316f16e8410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD).

    1. condodweller says:

      @Alex:
      “I’d also like to point out something that really upset me from the report:
      “During the morning rush (or, AM Peak) hour, only 5,200 drivers use this section of the Gardiner. As a point of comparison, this usage rate is similar to peak hour ridership on a busy TTC bus route such as the Eglinton West 32, Don Mills 25, or Dufferin 29.”

      I’m sure everyone hear has heard the one about there being three types of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. Or the one that 90% of statistics are wrong. The latter, for the benefit of non-critical thinkers, IS a statistic which means it’s inherently wrong meaning any statistic is wrong. And this 5200 number while the sample may be accurate, if they used one of those counters that lay across the lanes, it is totally meaningless and irrelevant to the discussion perfectly exemplifying why statistics are used to serve ones purpose. On the surface they say that the same number of people would be affected. What would be relevant is what that number would be if we did not have a traffic problem. Sure “only” 5200 cars use it at 10 Km/hr during rush hour grid lock. The question you should be asking is how high that number would be in absence of grid lock and if those cars were moving at 100 Km/hr? The math is simple it would benefit 52,000 cars or 104,000 if the grid lock speed was 5 Km/hr. How is that comparison looking now? The funny thing is he then uses that flawed number to extrapolate hourly wages which gets blown out of proportion. And then of course there is the comment: “These figures include the capital costs as well as operations and maintenance for the next 100 years.” referring to the cost difference between the two options.

  3. condodweller says:

    I agree with this blogpost. It does seem counter intuitive to remove highways to improve traffic in our “world class city. I also agree with the poster who said Toronto is not a world class city. As much as politicians tell us what a world class city we are I don’t believe large population = world class.

    I liked Jim Kenzie’s comment on his Motoring201x show where he said to politicians who want to build new transit system that we already have great transit system, it’s call our roads. It’s unrealistic to expect people to stop driving and start taking TTC to solve the problem.

    IMHO burying the Gardiner would be the best long term option despite the high cost. It’s the cost of having great transit. It seems to work in Montreal and look at Boston. I’m also in support of using tolls to pay for it with one small condition, and I know it will sound naive, that it be removed once it was paid for. I would want to see a legal document that allows the future Mayor in office at the time the cost is paid off to be executed if the toll is not removed. No….wait….future politicians will probably happily sacrifice the Mayor for the future free cash flow. Upon further reflection I’m against tolls.

    In terms of solutions though I would love to see what has been done in many European cities be done here, 1. round abouts. I know it may not be feasible in tight downtown intersections but it would save a lot of time everywhere else. 2. over/under passes for surface streets not just highways. 3. Increase two lanes traffic to three where possible and use one way streets to make them four lanes where not possible like in NYC. Look at how much faster traffic flows on three lanes streets like University Ave., Jarivs St., Richmond/Adelaide.

    1. ender says:

      I can’t believe you even mentioned Boston… The underground tunnels that were supposed to cost $2.8 billion ended up costing over $14.6 billion and it finished almost 10 years after the ‘completion date’ of 1998 in 2007…

      1. condodweller says:

        I am an optimist and look at the positives of the end result. Not the upfront negatives. Government will always find a way to take your money, it might as well be for something that has a direct benefit to most of us and our children. Yes, I realize we have to pay for it so it may as well be something worthwhile. As for delays, well I’m sure a project of that scale has it’s challenges, however it’s done now. They have a much better system in place. I can’t believe you are suggesting that we don’t do it because it is going to be over budget and overdue. That’s a given for any government contract. If you bid actual numbers then you are guaranteed not to get the contract. I just can’t wrap my mind around the fact that we are considering removing capacity when we are in desperate need of more.

  4. Anon says:

    David, love the blog, but you should stick to writing what you know. You obviously haven’t read about this issue, outside the Toronto Sun, and you sound like a 20-year-old young Conservative. (When a lot of smart and well-informed people are on the other side of an issue, maybe they’re not all idiots.)

    Also – “Toronto will NEVER have a beautiful waterfront.” Have you even been to Harbourfront in the past five years or seen the new waterfront Toronto parks in the works? Don’t you live close to there? You’re showing ignorance about a central piece of the city. Not a good look for a real estate professional.

    1. ScottyP says:

      I live on the waterfront (and own the property I live in), and can tell you with absolute certainty that Toronto will never have a beautiful waterfront.

  5. RK says:

    I did instantly connect with this article David, this “toll” thing has not only affected Canada, but also here in India, we are facing the same issues. Hope some wise people find a solution soon from:http://1bhkflatinpune.com

  6. daniel says:

    I know how to solve the traffic problem. We need several consecutive years of meaningful economic contraction. That’d stop these pesky people from moving here and from businesses moving goods around the city.

    Short of that, nothing else, including adding more transit capacity, is really going to solve the problem. So, everyone is better off to just get used to it.

    Also of note, although a good number of the developers who signed the list have properties that abut the gardiner, a majority of them don’t and endorsed the boulevard option for other reasons.

  7. Joel says:

    In the short term I am fine with either if the options. However every year we are seeing more and more development in the east end of toronto and out through Scarborough. I can think of at least a dozen condos in some form of building right now. The east is lacking in condos and development and this is where the next push from developers is going to come.

    With terrible transit service to the east and more residents coming I have to think that in 10-15-20 years toronto would be very upset if they took this part if the highway down.

    On a normal day it takes me 45-60 minutes to commute downtown via transit and 15-20 minutes by car. Having multiple options for motorists allows the traffic density to be spread out and as the population rises we are going to be thankful for that.

  8. Teegee says:

    I’m guessing you just glanced at newspaper headlines and wrote this embarrassing article.

    So you fully support spending almost a billion dollars to maintain the commute for 3% (that’s about 5200 people; more people commute into downtown by walking than that number!) of commuters coming into downtown – a commute that the studies said would increase anyway, regardless.

    Also, please see: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Induced_demand

    A boulevard could handle the traffic, add more to the tax base with more jobs (due to the land being used for buildings), cost less, and look a hell of a lot better.

  9. Free Country says:

    Thank you David. 100% agree. It’s just common sense. Like you, I am amazed and exasperated by those who think some sort of Utopia will bloom from taking down the eastern Gardiner and disconnecting it from the DVP. John Tory was right on this, and I am glad he stuck to his guns (and twisted some arms) to get the 24-21 vote in favour of the “hybrid” option. Now, though, I will just be more exasperated by the Pam McConnells on city council who cannot just accept the result and move on, and who instead vow to continue to fight and obstruct the will of city council.

  10. Steve says:

    Hahaha …. the city can’t even manage to pave the downtown streets.

  11. mark says:

    Pretty divisive article today – Building more roads isnt the answer to Torontos traffic congestion problem. building proper public transit is. Until Toronto sees past its cars , this will never be a world class city.

    Why couldnt the freed up land be an area for visitors? Have you been to the parks south of high park on the lakeshore? Awful place beside a 6 (8?) lane boulevard BUT it has a pool, some green space, walking and cycling trails (there might even be an ice-cream parlour!) .

    TOronto is in awful need of a vision but instead we continue to head towards becoming a bitter and divisive city

  12. heinekin says:

    take a look at montreal. they have hundreds of bridges that are maintained and are not crumbling. the landlords are brainwashing the masses for them to think the gardinear is a safety hazard and an ugly eye sore.
    the day they tear down the gardinear, the city turns into calcutta. we don’t need any tunnels- lets build a 6 lane bridge on lake ontario to port credit and towards pickering.

    1. Mike says:

      I see what you’re saying but I’m going to let you know that there are 11 families out there who will tell you that you’re well offside with your reference

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_la_Concorde_overpass_collapse

      Unless of course you were being satirical.

  13. Lee says:

    I hate the Gardiner – it’s ugly and is really a parking lot rather than an expressway – but John Tory was right when he said (to paraphrase) that we were all crazy if we thought people would be sitting at sidewalk cafes next to a 8-lane expressway. Pam McConnell just showed how out of touch she is with her constituents (and reality) because no family I know, including my own, is “flocking” to a park near a highway. I don’t think building a hybrid is a solution either and it would be nice if people who actually knew something about urban planning to figure out a solution that would work for this city.

    Maybe I’m being naive, but I’m hoping that the looming disaster that is the Pan Am Games will make someone somewhere with power realize that Toronto cannot be a “world class” city in its current or planned state.

  14. AT says:

    Agree 100% with everything you said!

  15. Brown_Eyed_Jewel says:

    Agree 100% with everything you said!

  16. amy says:

    to preface, i’m really not very educated on this issue…i am all for toll roads…it wouldnt put me off using a highway when i need to, even everyday, and i don’t think it would make toronto THAT much less desirable and would likely put pressure to improve public transport. Out of curiosity, i often wonder why the city doesn’t prohibit transport trucks from driving on the 401/require them to take the 407, thereby forcing companies to pay the tolls? is this just a crazy idea in my head? or is it not allowed in some way? surely it would help with congestion issues on the 401 and improve tranport times for the trucks

    1. Joe Q. says:

      I think this was one of the original goals of the 407 (to reduce cargo traffic on the 401) but companies balked at paying the extra costs, when there was a free option available.

      1. Reader says:

        I travel often on the 407 and gladly pay the tolls precisely to avoid the transport trucks

      2. Reader says:

        I travel often on the 407 and gladly pay the tolls precisely to avoid the transport trucks

  17. Joe Q. says:

    I don’t have really strong opinions about what the best option is for the Gardiner, but I have to part ways with David when he comments:

    “Yet another argument I refuse to accept: “Removing the Gardiner will only add a few short minutes for a few drivers.” That’s nonsense. I’ve read the reports – on how removing the Gardiner might add 3-4 minutes of commute time. Where the hell is that coming from?”

    Presumably it’s “coming from” a detailed engineering analysis that looked at traffic volumes and patterns along the Gardiner / DVP and neighbouring streets, census data, trends over time (population growth, commuting patterns, car ownership, etc.) Traffic flow is very non-linear and very non-intuitive, and in light of this (and with all due respect to our blog host) I would far sooner trust detailed analysis than the gut reactions of non-experts.

    1. Dan says:

      That’s exactly what the report was based on. However modelling traffic patterns 5-10-20 years in the future isn’t an easy exercise, though I am not sure if the 3-4 minutes of added time is just for people taking the same route, or includes the dispersal of traffic patterns to other roads (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disappearing_traffic)

      I don’t have strong opinions, but when the civil servant experts all conclude that the boulevard option was the better choice, I would tend to lean towards their expert analysis.

      I just hope we don’t have to revise this debate every year like the Scarborough subway.

    2. jeff316 says:

      Agreed and well said.

    3. condodweller says:

      I don’t buy the 3-4 minute delay for a millisecond and no, I would not believe the “detailed engineering analysis” when my intuition or a few seconds of rational thinking tells me otherwise. As a wise person once said I don’t need to be a shoemaker to know the show doesn’t fit. And before anyone calls me crazy or out of touch with reality think about the bike lanes on Jarvis. What did the engineers say there? I think it was 1-2 minute delay from removing a single lane of traffic. I knew that was a total waste of millions spent on research when I could have told them for free that was totally unrealistic (yes I do suffer from illusions of grandeur :-)). I was proven right the first day I drove home after the change. It took me an extra 15 minutes to go from Adelaide to Carleton! Now that may not sound like much of a difference but compare and contrast a nice flow of traffic with occasional red light at about 5-7 minutes with 20+ gridlock all in 1.5 kilometer. Now think about removing a section of 6 lanes of free flowing highway section. That 3-4 minutes MAY be possible at 2:00AM with 0 traffic but don’t tell me it will be the same in rush hour. Also note what they are doing, they are attempting to eliminate the Gardiner one piece at a time. The Eastern section has already been removed. Now they want to remove the next section which will be followed by the then Eastern section (at what point does it become the Western section? West of Bathurst?).

  18. Marina says:

    Speaking as a representative of “families” here, living and working in Toronto with two kids, I would really like politicians to stop using me as an excuse for their crap!

    I would like to be able to get from downtown to my daughter’s daycare in midtown in less than an hour. I’d like my husband to commute less than an hour and a half each way. How will tearing down a highway, any highways help with that?

    I think Rob Ford left way too many crack fumes down at city hall because these folks have got to be high!

  19. Jackie says:

    What happens when you get to the end of a highway? A few years ago the 407 used to end at Markham Road and there was a long pile up of cars always waiting to turn north or south off the highway. I have already seen the DVP traffic backlog when the Gardiner is closed on the weekend and I can’t imagine what it would be on a regular business day if the Gardiner was not there and DVP traffic would flow into Lakeshore (even expanded an extra lane each way). I don’t think that intersection or anywhere within 1km of that traffic backup would be a safe place for families and cyclists to walk to the lake or sit on a cafe patio inhaling idle car and truck fumes.

  20. Tom says:

    Are you serious?
    Have you even been following this issue or is this a simpleton’s knee jerk reaction?

    1. bobo says:

      I think it is a simpleton’s knee-jerk reaction, but not only that, it’s the knee-jerk reaction of neocon asshat, the kind that revs his engine threateningly when I cyclist is nearby, and hates the mere suggestion that Toronto’s sole purpose could be anything other than a place for commerce.

  21. Kyle says:

    Admittedly i haven’t been following this issue much, but to me it just seems like voting between stupid idea #1 – keep the Gardiner and pretend that the crumbling concrete will last forever vs stupid idea #2 – get rid of the Gardiner and pretend that all the people using it will magically find other means to get where they are going vs stupidest idea ever – burying the entire length of the Gardiner. The Gardiner is 18,000 meters long, but only about 70 meters wide. So why do all the solutions only look at it from a length point of view, instead of from a width point of view?

    I’m no expert in infrastructure, but if it were my call, i think it makes more sense to turn the Lakeshore into a freeway, add another lane in either direction if capacity is an issue, take out the 15-20 or so useless traffic lights (i’m talking about you: Ontario Dr, Newfoundland Rd, Fort York Blvd, Fleet St, Dan Leckie Way, Rees St, Lower Simcoe, Lower Jarvis, et al), bury the main cross streets, then re-furbish the elevated portion of highway into the Downtown Relief Line. You get close to the same amount of car flow, AND a DRL for less than any of the options they were debating over for way less money and way less ongoing maintenance costs.

  22. myeo says:

    I hate the usage of “families” by politicians to pander as well. The other buzzword/term that really bothers me in Toronto is the use of “world-class city”. I’m assuming most of the Councillors don’t have passports.

    The other insane idea for the Gardiner is to build a $3-$5 billion tunnel (or rather $20-40 billion by the time the sucker is built). This would actually be a good compromise for the left-right division as the simpleton fatboys in red tracksuits can drive their SUVs through downtown underground without having to look at homeless people and the socialist Councillors can hangout with families and vagrants on the greenspace above.

  23. AlreadyOwn says:

    I used to work for the 407, while it is run well it is run to benefit the few. That is the end goal, how do we get people, trucks and workers on expense accounts to use the highway. Make it better, cleaner and smoother. No social benefit was ever considered.

    The gardiner, because of its location should always be used as a social benefit, There are few other options for people that can take them where to need to be. With the 407 you at least have an option.

    Certain things should be paid for with taxes IMO, a prime artery should be one of them. I also don’t think tolling outsiders will work well either, it will just get messy and probably have screw ups. It will make it slightly less attractive to work here, or come down for entertainment. Same time what about renters, say a landlord lives in Oakville and tenant in Toronto. Technically the landlord is the one paying taxes, shouldn’t they get to take it for free? I rent out my basement near high park and my tenant pays no taxes (also doesn’t have a car but w/e) so would they need to pay?

    I am sitting 30 stories up right now at work and staring at the Gardiner – the only thing I think we can all agree on is damn is it ugly.

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