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bizorky

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Gardiner options revealed
From burying it to doing nothing, plans exist. But where's the money?
Sep. 27, 2006. 12:57 PM
VANESSA LU
CITY HALL BUREAU

The Gardiner Expressway should come down east of Spadina Ave. and be replaced with a 10-lane street at a cost of $490 million as part of Toronto’s grand plans to transform the waterfront, a long-awaited report recommends.
That is one of four options outlined by the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corp. and its consultants in a report first submitted to the city of Toronto in July, 2004. The $1 million, seven-volume report was released this morning to the Star as part of a freedom of information request.

The partial tearing down of the elevated expressway would "improve the quality of place" and is less costly than removing the entire Gardiner.

There are three suggested methods to replacing the torn-down section, but waterfront officials favour a 10-lane surface street with wide sidewalks and a generous median between Spadina and Cherry.

It would diverge into two five-lane, one-way streets in the section between Simcoe and Jarvis Sts.

The report acknowledges the basic cost would be about $490 million and would slow traffic more than other options. It recommends that this option be the starting point for an environmental assessment.

It is unclear whether the cost estimates have increased since the report was written.

The report has been gathering dust at City Hall since July, 2004 but was never publicly released, even to councillors. Mayor David Miller had said there was no point in making the report public because there were no plans for how to pay for proposed changes.

Two variations to accommodate the demolition of the Gardiner east of Spadina are also offered.

One includes building an underground route west of Spadina, which would benefit the Fort York, railway lands and Harbourfront neighbourhood. At an estimated $1.15 billion, it is far more costly.

The third variation recommends a continuous eight-lane Lake Shore Drive from Jameson Ave. and the Don River, at a width similar to University Ave. Street crossings for pedestrians would be shorter than the other varisations - and the costs would be about $460 mimllion.

The three other options for the Gardiner include:


Do nothing
However, the report acknowledges “the expressway will be sealed in place†by development, and the street environment around it will be harsh and inhospitable.

The cost to repair, replace and maintain the 1950s structure is about $10 to $12 million a year


Replace it ...
East of the Front St. interchange would be a four-lane express road running underground to the north of Fort York from Strachan to Spadina. And to the east of the central area, a four-lane express road running on the railway embankment between Jarvis and Cherry, with Lake Shore Blvd. running alongside it. For the section between Spadina and Jarvis, there would be two five-lane, one-way streets, eastbound on the surface and westbound partly on the surface, and partly below grade.

The cost would be between $1.4 billion and $1.475 billion.


Keep upper structure of Gardiner, but remove some ramps
Under this option, the upper structure of the Gardiner would be kept since it doesn’t restrict pedestrian traffic but Lake Shore Blvd. would be relocated and building below would be encouraged. Traffic would be slower with this proposal and the costs would be about $500 million.

"Urgent action is needed," the report says. "A profound reconfiguration of the Gardiner/Lake Shore corridor is necessary and fundamental to realizing significant revitalization of the Toronto waterfront."

It acknowledges the hefty price tag that comes with altering such infrastructure, but says making changes now would be less costly than later, "once the corridor is further built up, the missed opportunities greater, and the benefit less."
 
Sorry everyone, I just noticed that this is already posted.

That's what happens when ya rush stuff.
 
I don't see this article already posted. Where is it?

$1.4 billion is peanuts compared to the benefit from demolishing the Gardiner. This is also an absolutely unique opportunity for building a Downtown Relief Line for almost nothing. If we're already building the Front Street Extension and a relocated Gardiner along the rail corridor, the only significant cost would be for the short tunnel stretch under Front from Spadina to Yonge and the tunnel under Pape up to Bloor. In total, that's less than five kilometres, much of which could be economically cut-and-covered. It's likely that an additional billion dollars could give us continuous rapid transit from the Ex or even Roncesvalles and Queen to Pape and Danforth.
 
unimaginative2, that is a really good question, and my answer is:

I don't know.

I thought it would naturally be in the exisiting Gardiner thread. It isn't (so far). I am so busy avoiding work right now that I'm not paying enough attention to what I should not be doing.

Onward with the discussion.
 
$1.4 billion is peanuts compared to the benefit from demolishing the Gardiner. This is also an absolutely unique opportunity for building a Downtown Relief Line for almost nothing. If we're already building the Front Street Extension and a relocated Gardiner along the rail corridor, the only significant cost would be for the short tunnel stretch under Front from Spadina to Yonge and the tunnel under Pape up to Bloor. In total, that's less than five kilometres, much of which could be economically cut-and-covered. It's likely that an additional billion dollars could give us continuous rapid transit from the Ex or even Roncesvalles and Queen to Pape and Danforth.

I agree, this is a great idea.
 
Timing

Why is this coming out now? Who was behind the FOI request? Will this help or hurt Miller?
 
Re: Timing

Who was behind the FOI request

hmmm.... it is a conspiracy.... Freedom of Information should only be allowed if it helps the people you support :rollin
 
Re: Timing

Those conceptual photos of areas where the highway is removed, should provide enough proof to anyone as to the worth of taking the sucker down.
 
but to restate the obvious: the gardiner isn't the real obstacle, its the rail embankment that does the most damage down there. the underpasses are much more claustrophobic, dark, and sketchy. the gardiner is high enough that it lets quite a bit of light permeate down below, and it really isn't that hard to cross under it for the most part.

besides, how are all those nice new urban neighbourhoods going to be able to spring up along the north side of the Grand Street if everything built there backs onto the railway? i know i wouldn't want to live beside those tracks
 
Its not just an obstacle. Getting rid of the highway, as can be seen from the photos, opens up our waterfront and frees it of a freeway. We basically have a highway on our waterfront and getting rid of it would be a blessing. This is not a contest as to what is a bigger 'obtacle' (and which is a bigger obstacle is certainly debatable).
 
Construction is occuring under many of the railway underpasses downtown creating wide open pedestrian walkways which are sheltered from the noise of traffic and are well lit. It seems once these walkways, go access points, and other facilities under the railway are complete that the railway will be less of an issue.
 
... plus all the "after" conceptual renders magically eliminate the rail berm. Artistic license no doubt.
 
Actually there is a reason why they aren't visible - for example, in the rendering on pg. 36 of the presentation, the railway berm is hidden behind a row of buildings immediately south of it (see the map in the bottom half of the page). Same thing with the renderings in the following pages.

The point is - the berm isn't a huge issue within the Harbourfront area, but the Gardiner is in the sense that the latter subdivides the entire neighbourhood into awkward, incoherent blocks that is NOT conductive to generating a cohesive of place.

AoD
 
Could someone explain Miller's bizarre opposition to road tolls? How can he say in one breath that "there's no money available" and then dismiss an obvious source of ti in the next? Is he really serious, or is this just pre-election posturing?
 

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