The Gardiner Expressway Encased in Glass?


What the Gardiner Expressway may look like encased in glass - Toronto Star - Nov.14/10

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Architectural designer and illustrator Peter Michno (who works with Toronto architect Standford Downey) would like the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto, Ontario encased in glass.

The construction of this expressway was completed in 1965. Its’ official name, Frederick G. Gardiner Expressway, runs parallel and close to Lake Ontario.

Frederick Goldwin Gardiner was the first chairperson of the council for the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto from 1953 to 1961. He strongly supported the construction of this stretch of expressway (which is commonly referred to as “the Gardiner”) as well as the Don Valley Parkway. When “Fred” Gardiner stepped down as chair, he was succeeded by William Randall Allen (who sat as chairperson from 1962-1969). William Allen also had a stretch of road named after him, the W.R. Allen Expressway (commonly referred to as “the Allen Expressway”).

Today the Gardiner (which is owned and operated by the City of Toronto) accomodates about 200,000 motor vehicles a day and costs Torontonians approximately 3.5 million a year to maintain.

There have been downtown Toronto waterfront revitalization efforts (which includes Waterfront Toronto officials) which include the demolition of “the Gardiner”, due to residents describing it as an “eyesore” for visitors and residents. Some residents complain that the recent addition of condominiums stretching across the waterfront, obstruct the view of lake Ontario and are as much of an eyesore as the Gardiner.

The introduction of numerous condominums and the motor vehicles which accompany the new residents in this area, guarantee traffic congestion and gridlock in the years to come.

Peter Michno envisions a portion of the Gardiner (from Dufferin Street East to the Don Valley Parkway – a seven (7) kilometre stretch) covered in glass, which is vented.

Although the costs associated with this enormous project elude Michno, he thinks that tolls on the Gardiner would eventually pay for this glass tube. The president of the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA), Michael Comstock (elected June 8, 2010) supports Michno’s idea.

If this was work were to be done; it would no doubt demand that the Gardiner be shut-down for a number of years to allow for the construction and completion of this project.

The newly elected (to be sworn into office as of December 1, 2010) Toronto City council, will have to review the feasibility of this billion dollar project and consider whether or not it is realistic, given Toronto’s current economic challenges and lack of new revenue sources.

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