Tearing down Toronto’s Gardiner: Bad for traffic

by MM&D Online Staff

TORONTO, Ontario—New research shows the morning commute times for drivers will increase by up to 10 minutes and southbound traffic flow on the Don Valley Parkway may break down if the eastern portion of the Gardiner Expressway is removed.

The findings released today by the University of Toronto’s Centre for Intelligent Transportation Systems were commissioned by the Gardiner Coalition. The Gardiner Coalition consists of CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO), Canadian Courier & Logistics Association, Ontario Trucking Association, Redpath Sugar, Toronto Industry Network and the Toronto Financial District BIA.

The independent research undertaken by the University of Toronto reveals approximately 3,000 eastbound vehicles use the eastern portion of the expressway during the peak morning rush, almost triple the number previously thought.

The study also finds removing the Gardiner would mean an increase of up to 10 minutes to eastbound travel times from Park Lawn Road to the east end. This is a ‘best-case scenario’ and would be much worse if there was a collision, road closure or inclement weather.

Time isn’t the only factor. The study indicates there would be a ripple effect which would force commuters onto already congested routes such as the Don Valley Parkway and Richmond Street.

And researchers estimate the dollar amount due to delays would total approximately $37 million per year. Meanwhile, according to the C.D. Howe Institute, gridlock in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) is already costing the region nearly $11 billion annually.

The Gardiner Coalition, made up of diverse industry groups, supports the ‘hybrid option’ as it maintains the current traffic capacity, forms a contiguous link between two main arteries through the City of Toronto while ensuring mobility, safety and quality of life for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

“The proposed hybrid option maintains the vital connection between the Don Valley Parkway and the Gardiner and allows the continuous movement of goods, services and traffic across Toronto that is essential to our economy. The effect of removing the Gardiner has the potential to impact all road users well beyond the study area,” said Elliott Silverstein, Manager Government Relations, CAA SCO.

“An effective transportation infrastructure helps our manufacturers to compete more effectively in world markets. Taking down the Gardiner Expressway would impose a serious ongoing financial penalty on Toronto and negatively impact industry. TIN supports the hybrid option, ensuring the Gardiner remains an essential component of the city’s and the GTA’s road network,” said Paul Scrivener, Director of External Relations, Toronto Industry Network (TIN).

Meanwhile, the proposed removal option of the Gardiner is based on assumptions that a Downtown Relief Line, Broadview Extension and the Waterfront East LRT are imminent, but have yet to be funded by any level of government.