June 19, 2015

Morning Thought: A Lesson from Toronto

Here’s a tweet from reporter Don Peat during the debate over the removal (or not) of the Gardiner Expressway along the Toronto waterfront:




In other words, the Mayor of Toronto is saying that if the city had built transit capacity in the past, it could now completely demolish the eastern Gardiner elevated route and come closer to what Vancouver already has as a result of not building waterfront freeways in the first place.

But there’s a lesson here for us: If we fail to build transit capacity, it will be argued in the future that we need more roads and bridges (as some do already), regardless of merit or cost, because we have no other choice.  Indeed, I expect those who want to see the viaducts remain will argue, in the event of a No vote on the transit referendum, that we will need to keep them because there will be no more transit to accommodate the anticipated growth in the eastern suburbs.

(And here’s a related issue: The Citizens Assembly report from Grandview Woodland suggests the possibility of a tunnel under 1st Avenue from Clark to Victoria and perhaps beyond to get through traffic out of their neighbourhood.  Be very careful what you wish for: I can easily imagine that the Province’s engineers could conceive of a freeway connector between Highway 1 and Downtown by using the boulevard from Boundary to Nanaimo, a tunnel to the Flats, and a new road to the Viaducts.  Voila: the expressway they never got in the 1960s – and, they’ll argue, we’ll need to do it because we have exhausted transit capacity.)

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