Candidate for Mayor In Toronto Proposes Turning Elevated Expressway into Park

gardiner park rendering image

Just this past weekend, while riding with Toronto Architect Martin Kohn, we were discussing how Toronto's elevated Gardiner Expressway would make a wonderful park, cycle route and perhaps even light rail corridor; of course it was a dream, nobody would propose such a thing in Toronto. Then along comes Mayoral candidate Giorio Mammoliti to propose exactly that!

top view gardiner park rendering image

The Star describes it:

Inspired in part by New York's High Line elevated park, it would have trains down one side, with lanes for cyclists, pedestrians and skaters on the other, running through a series of 12 sky parks -- green spaces equivalent in acreage to 15 Yonge-Dundas Squares -- at a cost of $84 million, including street connections.

University of Toronto architecture professors Ivan Saleff and Robert Wright drew up the proposal, and note that the elevated expressway has never been a barrier to pedestrians and the thing that cut off the waterfront from the city; it was the road beneath it. Now people can just walk over it, through a network of sky parks built on top.

Gardiner park drawing image

Les Klein, a Toronto architect who designed a linear park to go on top of the existing highway (see TreeHugger here) is predictably dismissive in the Globe and Mail and calls it misguided.

"I think it misses the point," he said. "Taking an active highway and turning it into a park just doesn't quite work."

It's not feasible to divert traffic from the Gardiner onto Lakeshore Boulevard, Mr. Klein said: Whereas New York's lauded "High Line" made use of a former freight railroad to create an elevated park, this plan doesn't provide enough of an alternative for the drivers who now rely on the Gardiner for their daily commute.

I think Les Klein is misguided. We need comfortable alternatives to the automobile, and the proposal includes massive parking areas so that people commuting by car into town can leave their cars outside downtown and take transit in the core. It makes perfect sense.
More at Giorgio Mammoliti's campaign site.

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