As mayor, Karen will work with her Council colleagues, the private sector, Waterfront Toronto, and residents to create a new fixed link from the Gardiner Expressway to the Don Valley Parkway that keeps this vital transportation artery in operation, and frees up City-owned and private sector lands for unprecedented economic development and job creation on the eastern Waterfront.
“… Already it’s hard to get around town and if we were to put forward that proposal to bring down that section of the Gardiner, even though there is an economic benefit to the land, I think it will be met with some resistance. [I’m calling for] a hybrid proposal. It’s reconfiguring the Gardiner so that the Don Valley connects to the Gardiner but the ramp is changed so that it opens up that economic opportunity that is to the east. It will be an elevated expressway but by reconfiguring it, it allows that economic opportunity where that land now sits.” – Karen Stintz, February 24, 2014
The Challenge – Fixing the Gardiner in a Way that Makes Sense
In March 2014, the City’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee considered options for the eastern most portion of the Gardiner Expressway. One option is to tear down the eastern portion of the Gardiner which entails removing the eastern elevated portion of the Gardiner and replacing it with a widened at-grade Lakeshore Blvd. This option would slow travel times on the Gardiner by up to 15 minutes each way, creating even more gridlock in a City that is choking on congestion.
Another option is to maintain and rehabilitate the eastern portion of the Gardiner as is. This option is expensive and not sustainable over the long-term.
There is a third “Hybrid” or “Maintain Plus” option that would maintain the existing elevated expressway between Jarvis and Cherry and replace the elevated expressway from Cherry to the Don Valley Parkway with a new elevated expressway following a more direct route to the DVP.
Proposed “Maintain Plus” Configuration
At its March 2014 meeting, the City’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee directed staff to study the Maintain Plus option under the Terms of the current Environmental Assessment and report back in early 2015.
Toronto is one of the most congested cities in the world and the amount of time Torontonians spend in traffic only continues to increase. Tearing down the Gardiner just doesn’t make sense, nor does it make sense to continue to throw good money after bad at the currently unsustainable eastern end of the Expressway. The Maintain Plus option makes sense for commuters and for the future economic development of the east end of Toronto’s Waterfront.
Unlocking Economic Development through Gardiner Renewal
The Maintain Plus option will free up currently locked City-owned lands in the Keating Precinct that could be redeployed as employment lands. This 12 acre land parcel (see arrow below) can accommodate 1.9 to 2.8 million gross square feet of new development, unlocking hundreds of millions of dollars in new property tax revenue for the City. Properly developing this land parcel would become a first-order priority for Build Toronto.
Employment Lands Unlocked by Maintain Plus Option
To the east of the Keating Precinct, the Maintain Plus solution will help to bring Broadview Ave. down to Lakeshore and support the creation of a new employment district that includes the former Unilever site at 21 Don Roadway. Dubbed “ Toronto’s own Canary Wharf”, the proposed new employment district, which sits within Toronto’s waterfront, will deliver:
- 88,400 person years of employment during construction and 118,500 person years of employment annually following completion of construction;
- $7.8 billion in total GDP impacts during construction, with an additional annual GDP impact of $1.9 billion; and,
- $1.35 billion to $1.45 billion in direct tax revenue to the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government during construction, with as much as $1.55 billion annually in direct incremental tax revenue once the development is completed.
This 60-acre employment district has been recognized in amendment to the City’s Official Plan employment policies (OPA 231).
As mayor, Karen will work to unlock the economic potential of Toronto’s eastern Waterfront by making the Maintain Plus option for the Gardiner a reality.
Where can I learn more about this issue?
The following links may be helpful in learning more about this important issue:
Public Works and Infrastructure Committee (March 4, 2014), http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2014.PW29.2
Gardiner Expressway: Developer First Gulf comes up with new compromise, http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2014/03/04/gardiner_expressway_developer_first_gulf_comes_up_with_new_compromise.html
Have your say
After reading these materials, you are encouraged to provide Karen with your feedback at Karen@Karen2014.ca using the Subject Line “Toronto’s Canary Wharf”.