Greening up the Gardiner Expressway. A good way to hide urban planning disasters?
You could hear the laughter coming through the creaky ducts at CityCaucus Tower. I thought our underpaid research staff were playing Call of Duty again and was prepared to make heads roll. When I arrived on the 21st floor Team CC.com were crowded around a computer reading the Toronto Star's report that a "green roof" was being proposed for Toronto's Gardiner Expressway.
From the Star's report:
The plan comes from Les Klein, founding principal at Quadrangle Architects and was unveiled this morning at Moses Znaimer's ideaCity, the annual conference of thinkers...
His idea, dubbed the Green Ribbon, calls for the addition of a new level about 8 metres above the highway's elevated section from Dufferin St. to the Don Valley Parkway. Columns would be added to the side to anchor a new level, which would become a linear park stretching for 7 kilometres. The estimated costs range from $500 million to $600 million.
I forgave the young scamps for their outburst. I smiled myself at the thought of Klein's green ribbon, and wondered how far must cities go for their zeal for accommodating cars?
I checked the calendar to make sure it wasn't April 1st and this was a put-on. Considering how long many in the city have been advocating for improved access to the waterfront, it seemed like an insult. Lots of North American cities have got great hulking freeways cutting through their heart. Tossing some dirt and plants above them hardly looks like a sustainable way to improve your downtown.
This just looks like more of the Symbolic Environmental Movement (SEM) coined by my colleague Daniel. Granted removing the Gardiner presents a whole new set of challenges, but Torontonians should stick to their guns and plan for a downtown that someday doesn't have an overhead freeway.