TORONTO — You can add your voice to the growing chorus of those inside and outside of the trucking industry when it comes to pushing Toronto’s government toward making improvements to the eastern part of the Gardiner Expressway rather than removing it.
DontCutMeOff.net, an operation supported by the Gardiner Coalition – which the Ontario Trucking Association is an active member – launched a public campaign this week backing the so-called hybrid solution for Gardiner East.
The campaign urges the city council to vote for the hybrid solution on June 10 and maintain what they say is a vital connection between the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway, rather than an at grade-level highway.
“We urge Torontonians to visit dontcutmeoff.net and tell their local Councillor that the hybrid solution is the best investment for the future of Toronto,” said Stephen Laskowski, senior vice president of the Ontario Trucking Association and coalition spokesperson. “The hybrid solution will keep people moving and open the most possibilities for new economic development, all while ensuring the least amount of disruption.”
The groups say removing the option would create traffic chaos in this city, however, a poll of city residents indicates there is greater support for tearing the section down.
They claim the hybrid solution has a minimal impact on commuters, improves a major transportation artery through the heart of Toronto and ensures businesses and families experience less delays travelling to, from and through the downtown core.
“Improving the long-term health and vibrancy of Toronto depends on a revitalization of the Gardiner Expressway, above and below its decks, for the benefit of all Torontonians,” said OTA in a news release. “Our city will have the best chance of making that happen with a hybrid solution for Gardiner East. The imposition of an at-grade highway will not take advantage of the Waterfront but rather create an even greater barrier between it and the rest of the city.”
Also a University of Toronto study recently showed removing the Gardiner east–in addition to costing between $23 and $37 million a year–might endanger pedestrians and cyclists because of possible congestion spikes and traffic flow on arterial roads.
There are about 2,400 commercial vehicle truck trips per hour operating in the study area during peak periods. Further disruptions to this traffic could seriously impact the ability to deliver or pick up goods into or out of the city, says the coalition.