More than 300 people participated in a public meeting (and online via live webcast) on the future of the Gardiner Expressway East and Lake Shore Boulevard that was held on the evening of Thursday, June 13, 2013. As part of an Environmental Assessment (EA) and Urban Design Study, the public, along with waterfront stakeholders, were asked to consider four alternatives for the Gardiner: maintain, improve, replace or remove the eastern portion of the elevated expressway from Jarvis to Leslie Streets.
John Campbell, CEO of Waterfront Toronto and John Livey, Deputy City Manager for the City of Toronto co-hosted the event, which brought together urban design and planning experts who spoke about:
- How changes to the Gardiner East will be coordinated with waterfront revitalization;
- Traffic patterns along the eastern expressway;
- Ongoing rehabilitation efforts to keep the entire elevated expressway safe; and,
- How other jurisdictions around the world have dealt with similar elevated expressways
As part of the EA, an international design study was held in 2010, to solicit ideas for what could be done within each of the three alternatives that require changes to the expressway (improve, replace, and remove). Six internationally recognized teams of urban designers, architects and engineers, submitted their design concepts, the results of which were unveiled to the public at the June 13th meeting. From the creation of a park on top of the Gardiner, to an underground tunnel or a grand, at-grade boulevard, the submissions represented interesting and innovative ideas for what could be done with this section of the Gardiner. In addition, numerous design ideas were received outside of the design study process, representing submissions from local architects, design students and members of the public. The designs, as well as the presentation shown at the public meeting, are now available at http://gardinereast.ca/participate-online.
Members of the public are invited to continue providing their thoughts and ideas for the future of the Gardiner East by participating in an interactive exercise on the Gardiner East website. The site allows you to be the designer of the future Gardiner Expressway, ranking the design ideas and providing direction to the Gardiner East team. All public and stakeholder input will be collected and reviewed as part of the EA. The next round of public meetings is expected this fall with a preferred alternative presented to Toronto City Council in spring of 2014. Once approved by Council, the preferred alternative would then require a review and approval by Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment.