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living with THE GARDINER EXPRESSWAY Urban Design Approaches

Zack Taylor Program in Planning University of Toronto 1 April 2003


ZACK TAYLOR

Urban Design Approaches Living with the Gardiner Expressway

[2]

Executive Summary

Well, I suppose these freeways made this town … and many others … possible. They’re the cathedrals of our time. — David Byrne, True Stories.

Toronto City Council rejected burying the elevated Gardiner Expressway in January, 2003. Working from the assumption that no substantial modification to the expressway will occur in the near future, this report recommends urban design approaches to reduce the expressway’s psychological and physical barrier effects. As the residential population south of the rail corridor and the Gardiner Expressway grows, the need for strong links across them increases. This study performs the most detailed analysis yet published of the Gardiner Expressway’s effects on its surroundings, and accounts for the present residential development boom along the waterfront. The quality of the space under the Gardiner and the connections across it are given special attention. The Gardiner does not exist in isolation. Although the expressway is considered by many to be a fundamental barrier to the enjoyment of the waterfront, this report shows that the rail corridor, Lake Shore Blvd., and buildings are at least as powerful in their negative physical and psychological effects. In order to create strong north-south links, all of these elements must be considered. This study proposes a strategy of division. The Gardiner Expressway is divided into six segments and, in light of the analysis and numerous case studies, five different urban design approaches are applied to them: decoration, containment, physical linkage, visual linkage, and integration. The study shows that tearing down the Gardiner is not the only course of action available and, indeed, it may not be the best one. The City and the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation should explore the many possibilities of retaining the Gardiner.

The modern concept of a major street is the familiar freeway, with its divided lanes of traffic, landscaped central island and shoulders, and access only at grade-separated intersections. Traffic flows easily and enjoys a bland natural setting. Passing through a city, the … road is elevated above city streets, which improves the drivers’ view, but imposes even more of its noise on the abutters. The division of the city is more severe, and there are dark, unusable spaces under the roadway. While the freeway in the country is often a beautiful accomplishment of modern engineering, its insertion into the urban fabric has never been properly solved. Proposals have been made for the joint development of roadway and flanking use in one single, designed structure, but these have never been implemented. Tunnels remove the traffic nuisance. They are expensive, and for the driver are dreary in the extreme. — Kevin Lynch, Good City Form, p. 430.


Urban Design Strategy 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4

Goals Separation and Vibrancy Scale and Digestibility Strategy: Divide and Digest

SIX

28 28 28 29 30

2.1 Construction and Operation 2.2 The Waterfront Revitalization Process

6 6 7

Analysis 3.1 Virtues and Problems 3.2 The Development of the Waterfront’s East-West Bias 3.3 The New Residential Waterfront 3.3.1 3.3.2

Recreation and Commercial Development Residential Development

3.4 Overcoming the East-West Bias 3.5 Crossing the Gardiner and Rail Corridor 3.5.1 3.5.2 3.5.3

The Landscape Beneath the Gardiner Street Links Across the Gardiner and the Rail Corridor — North Street Links Across the Gardiner and the Rail Corridor — South

3.6 Visual Links Across the Gardiner and Rail Corridor 3.6.1 3.6.2 3.6.3 3.6.4

The Gardiner as “Fragmentary Edge” Views from the North Views from the South Views through the Gardiner

3.7 Analysis Summary

FIVE

Urban Design Approaches 5.1 Approaches 5.2 Decoration 5.2.1 5.2.2

THREE

9 9 9 11 11 11 15 16 16

5.2.3 5.2.4 5.2.5 5.2.6

5.4.1 5.4.2

16 5.4.4

25 25 25 26 27 27

Concept

5.4 Physical Linkage

5.4.3

22

Concept Case Study: The Miller West Side Highway, New York City Case Study: Coronado Bridge, San Diego Case Study: Hanshin Expressway, Tokyo Case Study: SR 51 at Thomas Rd., Phoenix, AZ Case Study: Le Quartier Éphémère, Montréal

5.3 Containment 5.3.1

Concept Case Study: Ferguson’s Spadina Gate Proposal, Toronto Case Study: Greenberg’s FDR Expressway Proposal, New York City Case Study: Fort York Blvd., Toronto

5.5 Visual Linkage 5.5.1 5.5.2 5.5.3

Concept Case Study: Greenberg’s Proposal for the Mouth of the Don River, Toronto Case Study: Waterfront Park, Louisville, KY

5.6 Integration 5.6.1 5.6.2 5.6.3 5.6.4 5.6.5

6.1 Dufferin to Strachan 6.1.1 6.1.2 6.1.3

Concept Case Study: The Loblaws Building, Toronto Case Study: Japanese Expressways Case Study: Canal Walk, Richmond, VA Case Study: Van Egeraat’s Keating Channel Proposal, Toronto

5.7 Conclusion

31 31 31 31 31 32 32 32 32 33 33 34 34 34 34 35

Evaluation Physical Linkage Decoration

6.2 Strachan to Bathurst 6.2.1 6.2.2 6.2.3

TWO

History

Area-Specific Options

Evaluation Visual Linkage Integration

6.3 Bathurst to Spadina 6.3.1 6.3.2

Evaluation Containment

6.4 Spadina to Yonge 6.4.1 6.4.2 6.4.3

Evaluation Containment Physical Linkage: Bay

6.5 Yonge to Cherry 6.5.1 6.5.2 6.5.3

Evaluation Containment Physical Linkage

6.6 Cherry to the DVP 6.6.1 6.6.2

Evaluation Integration and Linkage

6.7 Decoration 6.7.1 6.7.2

The Gallery Public Art

6.8 Conclusions

40 40 40 41 41 42 42 42 43 44 44 44 45 45 45 45

37 37 37 37 38 39 39

A

Physical Inventory A.1 A.2 A.3 A.4

B C D

Map: Land Consumption Roadbed Pillars Map: On- and Off-Ramps

Land Use Beneath the Gardiner Chronology Sources D.1 D.2 D.3 D.4

Documentary Sources Images Interviews Events

46 46 46 47

48 48 48 48 48 49

This report was completed in partial fulfilment of requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Planning, Program in Planning, University of Toronto. advisor Dr. Paul Hess second reader Dr. Kanishka Goonewardena outside reader Lorne Cappe Senior Urban Designer, City of Toronto

Notes

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35 35 35 36

Appendix

ZACK TAYLOR

1.1 The Intractable Problem of the Gardiner 1.2 Objectives and Scope 1.3 Method and Sources

4 4 5 5

Urban Design Approaches

FOUR

Introduction

course coordinator Philippa Campsie Version 3.0 All original material © 2003 Zack Taylor Zack Taylor, M.A., M.Sc.Pl. 37 Lakeview Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M6J 3B2 (416) 588 1773 design@zacktaylor.com www.zacktaylor.com

Living with the Gardiner Expressway

ONE


ZACK TAYLOR

Urban Design Approaches

1.1

Living with the Gardiner Expressway

[4]

one INTRODUCTION

The Intractable Problem of the Gardiner The future of the Gardiner Expressway is one of the most contentious and intractable urban design issues facing Toronto. For decades it has been reviled by citizens and politicians alike. It is seen as a barrier, both psychological and physical, to the enjoyment of the waterfront, and is a scar on the city’s doorstep. At the same time, the expressway plays an essential role in delivering traffic downtown. Whether the corridor’s overall automobile capacity is preserved or a large investment in public transit is made, removing the Gardiner will be an expensive proposition. Since the Royal Commission on the Future of the Toronto Waterfront reported in 1991, the demolition and burial of all or part of the Gardiner has been an article of faith. For inspiration, Torontonians have looked to Boston’s “Big Dig,” which buried the Central Artery, or to San Francisco’s Embarcadero Expressway, which was converted (with the help of an earthquake) into a surface boulevard. Political and fiscal constraints have, however, pushed these options off the agenda for the time being. The Gardiner is not going anywhere any time soon. Given this reality, Toronto must begin to imagine how to live with it.


To date, consideration of the Gardiner has been concerned with either “hard” issues of its physical structure, or “soft” questions of architecture and æsthetics. While the former may be criticized for being uncreative, the latter lacks grounding in the realities of day-to-day use. This report, while rooted in the language of urban design, is mindful of real-world issues. Although the three comprehensive urban design studies of the Gardiner performed in the 1980s remain valuable (see box), they do not account for the recent residential boom along the waterfront. They also pay insufficient attention to the effects of the rail corridor, both in terms of historical land use patterns and its role as a barrier to north-south movement. Finally, they do not address present and future construction adjacent to the expressway. As this report was being completed, a Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation (TWRC) study commissioned from architect John Van Nostrand and planning consultants Brook McIlroy was released. The study, which is not yet available to the public, recommends strategies for retaining the Gardiner. They propose realigning Lake Shore Blvd. to permit building beneath the expressway structure.1 Given the apparent stalling of the waterfront revitalization process, large-scale interventions such as realigning Lake Shore Blvd. or removing ramps are unlikely. This report emphasizes how the existing conditions of the Gardiner and its surroundings can be modified to strengthen links

• • • •

a history of the waterfront corridor from before the arrival of the railway to the contemporary debate over waterfront revitalization, a detailed analysis of the Gardiner’s perceived barrier effect, a survey of the Gardiner’s relationship to its rapidly-changing surroundings, a conceptual framework on which to base urban design solutions, and a series of urban design approaches based on case studies.

The Appendix contains an up-to-date inventory of the Gardiner’s physical structure and the land uses beneath it.

1.3

Method and Sources

ZACK TAYLOR

PREVIOUS URBAN DESIGN STUDIES OF THE GARDINER / LAKE SHORE CORRIDOR 1.

GUIDING THE GARDINER [FERGUSON AND FERGUSON ARCHITECTS, OCT. 1986.] This study presents • a history of the elevated expressway form, and of the Gardiner in particular; • the condition of the structure and surrounding lands; • the perceived problems and possibilities of the Gardiner; and • a proposal for gate structures at major intersections.

2. URBANIZING THE GARDINER [ARCHITECT PAUL REUBER, OCT. 1986.] This study is explicitly concerned with how buildings, and especially housing, can be integrated with elevated roadways. Working from historical precedents, Reuber develops a typology of building and gateway forms. The result is a proposal that the Gardiner be built up into a “city wall” separating the “upper town” from the “lower town.”

3. GARDINER-LAKESHORE CORRIDOR: A CIVIC DESIGN STUDY [DUTOIT ALLSOP HILLIER, SEPT. 1988.] The most detailed of the three, this study considers the full length of the Gardiner Expressway/Lake Shore Boulevard corridor, from Highway 427 to its original terminus at Woodbine Avenue. The study considers how: • gateways, boulevards, building relationships, expressway finishes and lighting, and landscaping can improve the “role and image” of the corridor; • north-south links can be improved; and

This report is based on both documentary and empirical research. The historical discussion of the Toronto waterfront corridor, the account of the present waterfront revitalization process, and the urban design case studies are all products of documentary research. The analysis of the Gardiner’s structure and its relationships to its surroundings are based on on-the-ground observations, photographs, and interviews with officials.

• underutilized land can be put to better use. The study concludes with a series of demonstration plans for various precincts. All three studies were commissioned by the City of Toronto’s Task Force on the Gardiner/Lakeshore Corridor.

Urban Design Approaches

Objectives and Scope

[5] Living with the Gardiner Expressway

1.2

across it and create an environment more hospitable to non-automobile use. As the Gardiner may eventually be removed, temporary and permanent structures that work either with or without it are discussed. Research did not uncover any empirical studies of noise, vibration, and shadow conditions, or of automobile emissions, though all of these contribute to the unwelcoming image of the Gardiner and its surroundings. These issues are not considered in this study. Between Dufferin and the Don Valley Parkway (DVP), this report provides:


ZACK TAYLOR

Urban Design Approaches

2.1

two HISTORY

Construction and Operation The Gardiner Expressway’s construction reflected a transformation in the city’s economy and urban structure. A rapid increase in the city’s population and geographical area in the first half of the twentieth century, combined with the entrenchment of the automobile as the principal mode of personal transportation, stressed the capacity of the existing street grid. Serious discussion of a limited-access highway system to speed movement of people and goods began in the early 1940s.

Living with the Gardiner Expressway

[6]

Figure 1. The 1943 Official Plan called for a series of superhighways indicated by letters. The precursors to the Gardiner (Superhighway A) the DVP/404 (Superhighway C), the 427 (at left), the 401 (Superhighway D), and the never-built Spadina and Scarborough expressways are visible. (Lemon 103.)

The expressway was built between 1957 and 1964 on a combination of Hydro and rail rightsof-way that cut through a series of rail yards and other industrial land. It was understood as one component of a system of expressways that would permit easy access to any part of the city from any direction. (See Fig. 1.) A Spadina Expressway was to connect to it from the north, and a Scarborough Expressway would extend the Gardiner Expressway to the east. Both of these projects were cancelled in the late 1960s and early 1970s, leaving the Gardiner as a conduit between the core and points west rather than a citywide east-west highway carrying through traffic. The now-dismantled “stump” of the Gardiner east of the Don Valley Parkway through to Woodbine was to be a connection to the Scarborough Expressway. The primary concern in locating the expressway was the visual experience of the driver. The condition on the ground was secondary. For reasons of scenery, a 1953 study by Margison Babcock & Associates proposed to run the western extremity of the expressway along the lake ’s edge.2 This was a controversial decision. Consulting engineer Norman D. Wilson wrote a letter to Metro Chair Frederick Gardiner describing the project as “a good traffic medium, but … so contrary to the public interest, so devoid of city-planning forethought” that he could not support it. He resigned in protest, writing that “the whole thesis of a waterfront for public recreation and enjoyment, which has governed city policy for the past thirty years is discarded.”3 He recommended a more northerly alignment that would permit a range of public uses south of the expressway, along the waterfront. In the end, Wilson’s alignment is more or less what was built.


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A key plank of the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Task Force’s report (2000) was a redesign of the Gardiner corridor.7 The Task Force recommended that:

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Legend Gardiner Rail corridor

Figure 2. The Gardiner Expressway and the rail corridor as they exist today. For a detailed inventory of the Gardiner’s structure and the land uses beneath, see the Appendix.

The Gardiner Expressway was imposed without respect to context. For example, scant consideration was given to the relationship to Fort York. Opposed by preservationists, Metro Chair Gardiner proposed to move the fort several hundred meters north, where it would be a visual “source of inspiration” to motorists. In the end, the Fort York issue was settled in 1959 with a renovation grant of $67,000 from Metro to the Fort authority.4 The Gardiner officially opened in 1964, two years ahead of schedule. It was completed at a cost of over $100 million, more than five times the projected budget of $20 million.5 Its final cost would be over $600 million in today’s dollars.6

the expressway be dismantled between Strachan and its eastern terminus, its traffic run in an underground tunnel between Strachan and Spadina, and emerge as an surface boulevard east of Spadina.

Given the small proportion of through traffic (20 per cent), the Task Force assumed that incoming traffic could be distributed across the surface road network. This imperative led the Task Force to recommend construction of the long-discussed Front St. Extension to channel traffic north across the rail corridor. Overall traffic capacity would not be reduced, the land east of Strachan would become fully integrated into the urban fabric, and Fort York would connect south to the waterfront park and, by virtue of a land bridge, north to the Garrison Creek park system.8 Task Force Chair Robert Fung and Chief City Planner Paul Bedford stressed that there was a time limit on the Gardiner’s removal: the more buildings built adjacent to the Gardiner, the more difficult the task would be.9 Not only would new buildings be oriented away from the expressway, creating a continuous wall, they would limit the ability to relocate the Gardiner’s traffic while its replacement was constructed. Toronto Star columnist Royson James noted that “the original alignment of a buried section of the Gardiner, proposed by the Fung plan in 2000, is no longer viable because the city has approved condo development right in the path. Elsewhere, buildings are going up next to ramps and sections of the highway, projects that will make it more difficult and costly to remediate it.”10

[7] Living with the Gardiner Expressway

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Urban Design Approaches

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2.2 The Waterfront Revitalization Process


ZACK TAYLOR

Urban Design Approaches

THE ‘THREE R’S’: RETAIN, REPLACE, REMOVE

RETAIN

REPLACE a) Tunnel and Surface Boulevard

Plan • Keep the existing

• The Gardiner is put into structure, but improve a tunnel. it by reconfiguring • A boulevard runs along ramps or making the surface. æsthetic improvements

Pro • Inexpensive

• Unlock value of surface land adjacent to the expressway

Living with the Gardiner Expressway

• The Gardiner is replaced • Dismantle the elevated by a grand, multilane structure and channel traffic boulevard onto existing streets

• End of elevated structure maintenance

• End of elevated structure maintenance

• High-speed traffic remains uncompromised in underground limitedaccess thoroughfare

• Very expensive

• Expensive

• Expensive

• Meeting traffic capacity requirements may require an extremely wide road that will be difficult to cross

• Meeting traffic capacity requirements may require an extremely wide road that will be difficult to cross

[8] of vertical structure remains

b) Surface Boulevard

• End of psychological • End of psychological barrier barrier posed by vertical posed by vertical structure structure • Unlock value of surface land • Unlock value of surface adjacent to the expressway land adjacent to the • Restores street grid. expressway • Has worked elsewhere: San • Restores street grid Francisco, New York

• Restores street grid

Con • Psychological barrier

REMOVE

• Intersections with north-south streets will lower automobile throughput of the corridor • Substantial up-front investment in transit is required

• Intersections with northsouth streets will lower automobile throughput of the corridor • Substantial up-front investment in transit is required

Fung proposed that the estimated $1.2 billion cost of a tunnel could be recovered by a toll.11 In response to the Fung Report, a City staff found that substantial transit expenditure — $915 million — would be required prior to the Gardiner’s removal. Much of this money was not included in the Fung plan, and no transit improvements were scheduled to occur prior to the start of the Gardiner project.12 Throughout 2002, City staff continued to explore the “Three Rs”: retention, replacement by a surface road or tunnel, and removal (see box). A “Statements of Fact” meeting was held on May 3, 2002, with representatives from City departments, the TTC, GO Transit, the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation (TWRC), and private experts. This group established guiding principles, including a strong emphasis on transit improvements to meet capacity requirements, and the creation of an uninterrupted street network with intersections. A two-day transportation workshop held May 13-14, 2002 produced concepts for review by the City and the TWRC. A Joint Working Group of City staff and representatives from the TWRC, GO Transit, and the TTC was formed to evaluate the products of the May meetings at a technical level. This group has developed eight possible variations. The TWRC strategy document, released in October 2002, is more cautious than the Task Force report, recommending only that a three-year, $20 million environmental assessment be undertaken.13 No additional money for the Gardiner appeared in the TWRC budget document. Although Fung has called for a freeze on development south of Queen’s Quay until the future of the Gardiner is decided, this has not been enacted.

On January 9, 2003, Council’s waterfront reference group approved a one-year, $1 million study to evaluate improvements to the existing structure. Despite City staff ’s endorsement, Council did not approve the TWRC’s environmental assessment study.14 Speaking to the press, councilors displayed little enthusiasm for a comprehensive approach to the Gardiner: …since we can’t find the money to take down a perfectly good, serviceable expressway, there ’s very little reason to make a change (Councilor Gloria Lindsey Luby).15 I think the wheels have come off the justification for tearing down the Gardiner. I don’t believe all the various reports have been able to provide adequate justification (Councilor Brian Ashton).16 Dreaming is nice but once in a while we need to wake up. I’d rather put that billion dollars into transit (Councilor Joe Pantalone).17 With the TWRC-driven process stalled at Council, no major steps will be taken until after the municipal election in November, 2003. Funding for major initiatives such as Gardiner removal will not occur until after the provincial election expected this year, if at all. No new money was forthcoming in the recent federal budget. As a result, it is time to imagine both temporary and permanent ways of accommodating the Gardiner Expressway.


three ANALYSIS

Virtues and Problems The purpose of the grade-separated, limited-access roadway is to •

allow vehicles to travel longer distances without delays at intersections with crossstreets, and permit pedestrians and other local traffic to go about their business free from dangers posed by high-speed automobile travel.

Although the Gardiner meets the first criterion, its failure to meet the second is widely acknowledged. To determine the nature of the Gardiner’s barrier effect, the historical and present interaction between the elements of the waterfront corridor — the Gardiner, the rail corridor, Lake Shore Blvd., and buildings — will be analyzed.

Figure 3. Toronto in 1842. The Fort York garrison is on the water at the very left of the image. Front St. runs along the waterfront, north of the port buildings and piers (Wickson 22).

ZACK TAYLOR

Urban Design Approaches

3.1

Removing the Gardiner will not permit a return to a golden age when movement between downtown and the lake was unobstructed. Shaped by the development of the port and the railway, the movement of people and goods was profoundly east-west in orientation long before the invention of the automobile. Toronto’s original civilian settlement was centred at King and Parliament Sts. The British garrison founded in 1793, Fort York, was located several kilometers to the west, beyond the future Bathurst St. Housing expanded westward slowly, reaching John St., the eastern border of the Garrison reserve lands, only in the 1830s. The 1842 lot map in Fig. 3 shows the sparseness of settlement. At that time, before the extension of the shoreline into the harbour with landfill, Front St. ran along the lake’s edge. In 1840, responding to public outrage over private control of waterfront lots, the Crown set in motion a process to create the Esplanade, a 30mwide carriageway below Front St. between Spadina and Berkeley St. Opposed by private port interests,

[9] Living with the Gardiner Expressway

3.2 The Development of the Waterfront’s East-West Bias


ZACK TAYLOR

Urban Design Approaches

Figure 4. An 1854 painting by Edwin Whitefield of the Esplanade, looking west from Parliament St. (Wickson 25).

Living with the Gardiner Expressway

[ 10 ]

Figure 5. An 1894 photograph looking west from just west of Parliament St. shows

Figure 6. Citizens cross the rail corridor at Bay St. to reach the ferry docks. By the

the Esplanade almost completely consumed by railway tracks (Wickson 29).

early twentieth century, fatalities were common at level crossings (Wickson 36.)

the construction of the Esplanade was delayed for a decade. It was depicted as a tremendous thoroughfare, separating the active port from the commercial and residential city to the north. (See Fig. 4.) The separation of north from south was set. Public enjoyment of the Esplanade was shortlived. Despite the City’s desire to consolidate rail activity at Ashbridge’s Bay, powerful rail interests hijacked the wide Esplanade for their own use. After 1851, the Northern Railway laid track from the west through the Garrison Reserve lands and along the Esplanade. (See Fig. 5.) In the second half of the nineteenth century, the railways expanded rapidly, squeezing out public uses in the central waterfront in favour of portrelated warehousing and industry. By the first decade of the twentieth century, delays in rail traffic and pedestrian fatalities at the rail corridor’s level crossings led to calls for a system of bridges over the rail lines. (See Fig. 6.) The railway companies, in dire financial straits, fought the plans. It wasn’t until 1925-1930 that a system of viaducts was built, elevating the railroad tracks in the central and eastern downtown and installing a series of underpasses at York, Bay, Yonge, Jarvis, Sherbourne, Parliament, and Cherry Sts. West of Union Station, a series of bridges were built at Spadina, Bathurst, and Dufferin. Strachan, located west of the fork in the rail corridor, remains a level crossing at the northern rail line, but has a bridge over the southern one. Many smaller streets that would otherwise continue across the corridor are blocked by the rail lines.


RECREATION AND COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT

The importance of the port declined after World War II. With the advent of containerization and shipping by truck and air, access to rail became less important for industry. By the late 1960s, the industrial waterfront entered a steep decline. (See Fig. 7.) Ontario and the federal government responded by developing recreational facilities on the waterfront. In 1972, the federal government took possession of 40 hectares of land bounded by Lake Shore Blvd., York St., and Stadium Rd., just west of Bathurst. This led to the creation of the Harbourfront Corporation and development of the York and John Quays. At the western edge of the waterfront, complementing the CNE, is Ontario Place, an educational and entertainment facility built by the Ontario government between 1969 and 1971.

Figure 7. The central waterfront in 1968: a desolate landscape of rail yards (Wickson 102).

The 1970s through the 1990s brought significant private investment. Examples include the Harbour Square development on York Quay, which includes the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel and the ferry docks. On the north-east corner of Yonge and Queen’s Quay Blvd. is the Toronto Star headquarters. On the north-west corner of Queen’s Quay Blvd. and Bay St. are two office towers. 3.3.2 RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT

Residential construction began in the 1970s and accelerated through the 1980s. There are ten condominium towers of approximately 20 storeys between Spadina and Yonge, including One York Quay in Harbour Square, the World Trade Centre condos just east of the Toronto Star building at Yonge, and the five concrete towers at 250-270 and 350-390 Queen’s Quay W. On the waterfront at Spadina is eight-storey Harbour Terrace. This building sets the scale for the more recent residential development between Spadina and Bathurst: Arthur Erickson’s Kings Landing and KPMB’s 500 and 550 Queen’s Quay W. Both step back to a 12-storey height limit imposed in the 1980s. All of the buildings on the north side of Queen’s Quay between Bathurst and York back onto the stacked Gardiner and Lake Shore Blvd. Several co-operative housing buildings dating from the 1980s are located on Bathurst Quay. Together, these buildings total over 4,000 residential units.

The following recent condominium developments are proposed, completed, or near completion: •

• • • •

Water Club, north of Queen’s Quay

between York and Simcoe (1081 units, one 21-storey and two 37-storey towers) The Riviera, 228 Queen’s Quay W. (429 units, 19 storeys) Aqua, north of Queen’s Quay at Spadina (273 units, 16 storeys) Water Park City, Fort York Blvd. and Fleet St. (unit total unknown, 30 storeys) Tip Top Lofts, 637 Lake Shore Blvd. W., just west of Bathurst (unit total unknown, 6 storeys) CityPlace, between the Gardiner and the rail corridor, between the Skydome and Bathurst St. (unit total unknown, 20 towers at full build-out, four now built, 28 storeys) Liberty Village, between the split in the rail corridor between Dufferin and Strachan (2000 units, 2-4 storey townhouses and lofts)

When these buildings are completed, the total number of units south of the rail corridor will likely top 12,000, the majority south of the Gardiner. Longerterm residential development east of Yonge and in the Port Lands will only increase this population. The next three pages contain: • • •

Map 1, of buildings adjacent to the

Gardiner and the rail corridor, Map 2, of past, present, and future residential developments, and Map 3, of the transformation from industrial to mixed residential and commercial use.

Urban Design Approaches

3.3.1

[ 11 ] Living with the Gardiner Expressway

The ongoing transformation from industrial to mixed use has changed the way people perceive and use the lakefront. Prior to this transformation, concern about accessing the waterfront was more symbolic than real. Aside from taking the ferry to the Toronto Islands, or visiting the CNE, there was little reason to venture south of the rail corridor except to work. In addition to promoting travel south of the rail corridor and the Gardiner, the creation of mixeduse waterfront neighbourhoods has for the first time generated a resident population that needs to travel north. As a result, north-south links to the lakefront must not only be strengthened, but their design must explicitly recognize the bidirectional flow of pedestrian, bicycle, and automotive travel.

ZACK TAYLOR

3.3 The New Residential Waterfront


Urban Design Approaches

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Living with the Gardiner Expressway

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convention centre

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condos

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Map 1 Buildings Adjacent to the Gardiner Expressway and Rail Corridor

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Legend

Water Park City condo

Gardiner Expressway

Tip Top Lofts condo

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Ontario Place

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Areas slated for development in the City’s new Secondary Plans, indicated by their number. These boundaries do not include parks.

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[ 13 ]

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Planning for development of land south of the rail corridor and east of Yonge Street is being undertaken by the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation and the City of Toronto under the rubric of the waterfront revitalization initiative.

Living with the Gardiner Expressway

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Map 2 Residential Development


Urban Design Approaches

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Living with the Gardiner Expressway

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Former industrial, now mixed-use (development since c. 1970) Industrial, future mixed-use (in progress or in secondary plan) Recreational facilities Rail corridor Vacant / parking lot

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Map 3 Land Use in Transition East

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RESIDENTIAL

INDUSTRIAL

RESIDENTIAL

INDUSTRIAL

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[ 15 ]

Figure 9 TORONTO HARBOUR

G A R D IN

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Figure 10

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The installation of the Queen’s Quay streetcar and its connection to the Bathurst and Spadina lines have strengthened the north-south linkage. To a lesser degree, the pedestrian passages under the rail corridor known as “teamways” at York and Bay have done the same. The major north-south car, pedestrian, and public transit links across the corridor are shown in Fig. 10. The Queen’s Quay E. streetcar line shown is that proposed in the Waterfront Part II Plan.

INDUSTRIAL

RESIDENTIAL COMMERCIAL

3.4 Overcoming the East-West Bias In Section 3.2, we saw how the railroad reinforced the Esplanade’s separation of the commercial and residential city from the industrial waterfront. Today, east-west roads and streetcar lines are the dominant paths, connecting the various activities arrayed along both sides of the rail and Gardiner corridor. This east-west bias is represented in Fig. 8. The activities on each side operate independently of each another. (See Fig. 9.) The areas north of the corridor have little connection to the south in terms of built form type or land use. The building of large institutional campuses and megastructures along the corridor’s edges has further reinforced the division of north from south. These include the Canadian National Exhibition, the Metro Convention Centre, the CN Tower complex, and the SkyDome.

ER

Living with the Gardiner Expressway

G A R D IN

Urban Design Approaches

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QUEEN


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3.5 Crossing the Gardiner and Rail Corridor

Urban Design Approaches

At present, these links are weak. As the conversion to residential and commercial uses south of the corridor progresses, north-south movement will increase. The urban design challenge is to create an uninterrupted urban fabric. To do so, north-south links must be strengthened through strategic land use planning and urban design. The result will look something like Fig. 11. 3.5.1

CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT

RESIDENTIAL

RESIDENTIAL

RAIL G A R D IN

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RECREATIONAL

[ 16 ] Living with the Gardiner Expressway

The Gardiner does not exist in isolation. The experience of crossing the corridor differs greatly along its length, depending on the relationship between the Gardiner, the rail corridor, on- and off-ramps, and Lake Shore Blvd. This section discusses the quality of the landscape beneath the Gardiner, and the conditions along the street that cross it and the rail corridor.

Figure 11 TORONTO HARBOUR

The next section considers the experience of crossing the Gardiner and the rail corridor.

THE LANDSCAPE BENEATH THE GARDINER

At a distance the Gardiner is composed of clean lines — the long horizontal of the roadbed atop the rhythmic repetition of the pillars. A one approaches the Gardiner, its physical characteristics become clear. The sound of the traffic above is heard, and the condition of the steel and concrete becomes apparent. The concrete is broken and patched, green paint peels from rusty girders, and graffiti marks the salt-stained pillars. (See Fig. 12.) Where Lake Shore Blvd. runs beneath it, traffic noise reflects off the roadbed above. Salt and dirt from the roadbed above splatters through the guardrails to the ground below, damaging plant life and concrete. 3.5.2 STREET LINKS ACROSS THE GARDINER AND THE RAIL CORRIDOR — NORTH

The height of roadbed, the proximity of buildings, and the relationship to rail corridor and Lake Shore Blvd. differ from one cross-street to another. Map 4 shows all streets that cross the Gardiner and the rail corridor. The two pages that follow display sequences of photographs along each of these streets.

Figure 12. Graffiti, rust, and salt stains mark the Gardiner’s structure.


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Living with the Gardiner Expressway

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Legend Fleet St.

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Map 4 Links Across the Gardiner Expressway and the Rail Corridor


Urban Design Approaches

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PHOTOGRAPHIC SEQUENCES OF CROSSING THE GARDINER / RAIL CORRIDOR, LOOKING SOUTH STRACHAN

BATHURST

SPADINA

YORK

BAY

YONGE

KING ST.

The Gardiner is clearly visible.

The Gardiner is visible through the rail bridge.

The Gardiner is blocked by the rise of the rail bridge.

The view of the Gardiner is blocked by the elevated railbed.

The view of the Gardiner is blocked by the elevated railbed.

The view of the Gardiner is blocked by the elevated railbed.

At the north rail crossing, the Gardiner is clearly visible.

The Gardiner is visible through the rail bridge.

The Gardiner is blocked by the rise of the rail bridge.

The view of the Gardiner is blocked by the elevated railbed.

The view of the Gardiner is blocked by the elevated railbed.

The view of the Gardiner is blocked by the elevated railbed.

At the south rail crossing, the Gardiner is clearly visible.

The Gardiner is visible from the rail bridge.

The Gardiner is blocked by the rise of the rail bridge.

The view of the Gardiner is blocked by the elevated railbed.

The view of the Gardiner is blocked by the elevated railbed.

The view of the Gardiner is blocked by the elevated railbed.

WELLINGTON ST.

Living with the Gardiner Expressway

[ 18 ]

RAIL CROSSING / FRONT ST.


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The Gardiner is visible above the elevated railbed.

The Gardiner is visible above the elevated railbed.

The Gardiner is visible above the elevated railbed.

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[ 19 ]

Rail corridor

THE ESPLANADE

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Urban Design Approaches

SHERBOURNE

Living with the Gardiner Expressway

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PHOTOGRAPHIC SEQUENCES OF CROSSING THE GARDINER / RAIL CORRIDOR, LOOKING SOUTH


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Urban Design Approaches

Strachan and Bathurst bridge the rail corridor

Figure 13. Looking northwest from the level crossing at Strachan.

Living with the Gardiner Expressway

[ 20 ]

Figure 14. Looking northeast from the level crossing at Strachan.

before passing under the Gardiner. Running in parallel to the west, the Gardiner and the rail corridor diverge at Strachan, enclosing Fort York to the east. The distance from Wellington St., just north of the first rail crossing, to the other side of the Gardiner along Strachan is over 500m. At present the land between the rail lines is mostly empty. In the future, the Liberty Village housing development will extend eastward to Strachan. (See Figs. 13 and 14.) The portion of the Gardiner south of Fort York once had a rail spur beneath it. Between Strachan and Fort York Blvd., grass now grows between the pillars. (See Figs. 15 and 16.) Without any groundlevel car traffic, the space beneath the roadbed is visually open and no louder than a typical urban street. Shadow aside, the expressway has little direct effect on the land beneath it. Lack of human activity or productive use gives the land the appearance of dereliction.

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Garrison Entry Road E Armoury Figure 15. Looking east from Strachan, just south of the Gardiner, toward the Garrison Rd. bridge into Fort York.

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Figure 16. Looking east from the Garrison Rd. Bridge into Fort York.

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Figure 17. Looking west from Spadina along Lake Shore Blvd., the ďŹ rst eastbound off-ramp descends.

Figure 19. The York Teamway, interior and exterior, looking north.

Figure 18. Looking north through the Gardiner, the Spadina overpass of the westbound lanes of Lake Shore Blvd.

[ 21 ] Living with the Gardiner Expressway

Lake Shore Blvd. and the Gardiner complicates the relationship between the Gardiner and its surroundings. On- and off-ramps run alongside one or both sides of the expressway continuously from west of Spadina through to Parliament. (See Figs. 17 and 18. For a map of ramp locations see Appendix A.) The confluence of high-volume ramp and Lake Shore traffic at intersections in the central waterfront creates an environment unfriendly to pedestrians. At these points, salt from snow-removal has killed plants and degraded the surrounding pavement. At York and Bay, the glass-enclosed and soundproofed pedestrian teamways share the underpasses beneath the rail corridor with automobile traffic. (See Fig. 19.) At this point, beneath and adjacent to Union Station, the rail corridor is approximately 100m wide. Although the teamways efficiently channel people from Union Station and points north to the Air Canada Centre, Harbourfront, and Queen’s Quay, they are far from attractive. East of Bay, pedestrians traverse the underpass system on unenclosed sidewalks.

Urban Design Approaches

East of Bathurst, the stacked condition of


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Urban Design Approaches Living with the Gardiner Expressway

[ 22 ]

3.5.3 STREET LINKS ACROSS THE GARDINER AND THE RAIL CORRIDOR — SOUTH

Much as from the north, the Gardiner and, east of Spadina, the rail corridor, are visible along the major street links. Photographs from Queen’s Quay or Fleet St. are at right. The locations of the photographs are marked on the map on page 19. West of Yonge, the proximity of the Gardiner to buildings on its south flank reinforces the sense of the Gardiner’s arch as a gateway to the north. East of Yonge, the parallel paths of the elevated railbed and the Gardiner create a double gateway. At Jarvis, Sherbourne, and Parliament, the railbed, and thus the ceiling of the underpass beneath it, is lower than the Gardiner, creating a dark, claustrophobic passage. At these crossings, the railway is the greater psychological barrier. Although the pedestrian experience at all crossing points would be improved by installing better sidewalks, bicycle paths, lighting, and landscaping, as well as teamways beneath the rail corridor, there are no uncrossable barriers to pedestrian and bicycle travel along existing north-south streets.

PHOTOGRAPHIC SEQUENCES OF CROSSING THE GARDINER / RAIL CORRIDOR, LOOKING NORTH FROM QUEEN’S QUAY BLVD.

STRACHAN (at Fleet St.)

BATHURST

SPADINA

YORK

BAY

YONGE

JARVIS

SHERBOURNE

PARLIAMENT

In all cases, the Gardiner is visible. For a map of photograph locations, see page 19.


Living with the Gardiner Expressway

[ 23 ]

Urban Design Approaches

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Urban Design Approaches

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Living with the Gardiner Expressway

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Legend Gardiner Expressway Rail corridor Building edge or topographic feature blocking visibility of the Gardiner Future building edge that will block visibility of the Gardiner. (Based on present construction, condominium promotional literature, and area Secondary Plans.)

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Map 5 Visibility of the Gardiner Expressway from Street Level

Area within which the Gardiner is visible

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Figure 20. Panoramic photo from the Bathurst rail bridge, looking east. The Gardiner is visible in front of the line of Queen’s Quay condos at the right of the photograph.

THE GARDINER AS “FRAGMENTARY EDGE”

Viewed from afar, the Gardiner is perceived differently depending on one’s location from east to west. As shown by the street sequence photography in the previous section, one typically only sees “keyhole” views of the Gardiner down streets. While the Gardiner’s presence is felt, it is not always visible. Kevin Lynch calls this a “fragmentary edge” — “in the abstract continuous, but only visualized at discrete points.”18 Map 5 shows the outer limits of the Gardiner’s visibility from the north and south before sightlines are blocked by buildings or topography.

3.6.2 VIEWS FROM THE NORTH

Between Dufferin and Bathurst, nothing rivals the

From Bathurst to Spadina, a continuous view of the

Gardiner in height except for the spires of some CNE buildings to the south. At ground level, a continuous view of the structure can only be had from points where north-south streets meet the rail corridor, and from Fort York. The width of the rail corridor approaches 100m — its widest — just west of Bathurst. (See Fig. 20.)

Gardiner is available from along Front St. North of Front, the expressway is visible only along Portland St. This view will soon be obstructed by the CityPlace condominium towers to be built on the former rail lands contained by Bathurst, Front, the Skydome, and the Gardiner. (See Fig. 21 and Map 2, p. 13.)

[ 25 ]

Figure 21. Panoramic photo from the corner of Spadina and Bremner, looking south. The condo towers along Queen’s Quay are clearly visible beyond the ribbon of the Gardiner. When the CityPlace condo tower development is fully built-out, this view will disappear. (See the Map 5, p. 24.) E

S

Urban Design Approaches

3.6.1

N

W

Living with the Gardiner Expressway

Physical links to the waterfront are only one piece of the puzzle. Another important aspect is the ability to see the waterfront lands from the north and, conversely, the downtown from the waterfront. This section demonstrates that the Gardiner is not visible from the north for the majority of its length and, even where the Gardiner can be seen, buildings block views through it to the lake. The removal of the Gardiner would not in itself open up views to the lake from the north. The near-continuous line of buildings south of the Gardiner renders it nearly invisible from the water.

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3.6 Visual Links Across the Gardiner and Rail Corridor


Urban Design Approaches

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3.6.3 VIEWS FROM THE SOUTH

From Spadina to just east of Yonge, the Gardiner

is dwarfed by the SkyDome and the skyscrapers to the north. The view of the Gardiner along Spadina is blocked by the bridge over the rail corridor. (See Fig. 22.)

East of Yonge, the Gardiner runs parallel to a

Development along Queen’s Quay also blocks views of the Gardiner from the water along most of its length. From Bathurst Quay to Spadina, buildings completely obscure the Gardiner. (See Fig. 23.) Between Spadina and Yonge, the Gardiner is only visible in front of the Skydome. (See Figs. 24 and 25.) Development north of Queen’s Quay Blvd. blocks views of the Gardiner at all other points.

rail berm that partially blocks the Gardiner’s visibility. Buildings, including the townhouses at the south edge of the St. Lawrence neighbourhood, line north side of the rail corridor. (See Fig. 27, p. 33.)

Living with the Gardiner Expressway

[ 26 ]

CN Tower

Harbourfront

Harbour Square

Figure 24. The Gardiner is not visible between the CN Tower and Harbour Square. N

E

S

Figure 22. Panoramic photo from the Spadina rail bridge, looking east. The four towers all belong to the CityPlace development. An additional tower is planned for the treed area in the photograph.

Figure 25. The Gardiner is visible south of the Skydome. Bathurst Quay Bathurst St. Figure 23. Development along Queen’s Quay blocks views of the Gardiner from the south.

Queen’s Quay condos

Spadina


East of Yonge, where there are few buildings

south of the Gardiner, it is clearly visible from the water. (See Fig. 26.) East of Cherry, the Gardiner separates from the rail corridor and runs along the Keating Channel. (See Fig. 27.)

The Gardiner is not a solid wall. Most of the volume enclosed beneath the roadbed is air. (See Figs. 28 and 29.) The built form map (Map 1, p. 12) and the Gardiner visibility map (Map 5, p. 24) illustrate that the land on both sides of the Gardiner is so built-up that there are few opportunities to see the expressway, let alone the lake, from any reasonable distance. In addition, Toronto’s flat topography forecloses opportunities to see the water from ground level. To the extent that unobstructed views through the Gardiner are available, one most often sees a building rather than the lake.

Gardiner affects its surroundings differently at various points along its length. It is also perceived differently depending on where one stands — near or far, north or south, east or west.

Figure 28. Looking through the Gardiner between Bathurst and Fort York Blvd. at the truck marshalling yard. The buildings on the other side have been edited out of the photograph to emphasize the aperture.

The Gardiner is not a single entity. The

The Gardiner does not exist in isolation.

The effects of the Gardiner, the rail corridor, buildings, and Lake Shore Blvd. are interrelated and mutually reinforcing. •

The rail corridor is the main physical barrier to north-south movement. The rail-

way blocks the continuation of north-south streets, and its sphere of influence is much wider than the Gardiner. • Figure 26

Parliament Slip

Victory Soya Mills

the Gardiner would not improve sightlines to the lake. • Figure 29. Looking north from Fort York Blvd. into Fort York.

Figure 27

Cherry Bridge over Keating Channel

Essroc Pier

The buildings adjacent to the Gardiner and the rail corridor are the main visual barriers to the lakefront. The removal of

The constraints imposed by existing buildings, ramps, and the alignment of Lake Shore Blvd. limit the scope for intervention.

Urban Design Approaches

3.6.4 VIEWS THROUGH THE GARDINER

[ 27 ] Living with the Gardiner Expressway

Section 3 has shown that the transformation from industrial to residential use south of the rail corridor and especially south of the Gardiner necessitates the strengthening of north-south links. To do this, the strong historical east-west axis of movement embedded in the lakefront corridor must be overcome. The following conclusions inform the design strategies developed in the next section:

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3.7 Analysis Summary


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Urban Design Approaches Living with the Gardiner Expressway

[ 28 ]

4.1

four URBAN DESIGN STRATEGY

Goals

4.2 Separation and Vibrancy

Two overarching urban design goals stem from the analysis: •

to break down the psychological barrier by strengthening visual and physical links across the Gardiner and rail corridor, and

to improve the quality of the environment beneath the expressway.

Section 4 develops an urban design strategy to meet these goals.

The post-War city was constructed on the principle of separation: cars from people, industrial from residential, public from private. This separation is at once a problem and a virtue. While the radical separation of different uses or activities from one another may result in functional efficiencies and public health benefits, it also imposes æsthetic uniformity and compartmentalizes — both in space and time — on the way we live. Part of what makes cities vibrant and interesting is their rich mixture of activities. Planners and urban designers are now working to recapture this richness. By intervening strategically to overcome the negative effects of separation, vibrancy at all times of the day and seasons of the year can be restored. The elevated expressway, in its separation of the road from the ground, is one of the most radical examples of separation. Fig. 30 contrasts the interrupted fabric of the street-level intersection with the multi-layered expressway interchange. A finegrained, single-level fabric of spaces and buildings is often identified with human scale. The elevated expressway forces us to reconcile divergent scales. The result, if successful will be new and unique multilayered spaces.

Figure 30. Superficially, these two objects perform the same function, but they have very different effects on the surrounding landscape (Winter 94-95).


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Urban Design Approaches

4.3 Scale and Digestibility

[ 29 ] Figure 31.

Kirkland believes that the elevated roadway is most akin to the Roman aqueduct, which was in its own time and place no less indigestible. (See Fig. 31.) Half tongue-in-cheek, he writes that the Gardiner is the symbol of a failed era: Like the demolition of the Pruitt-Igoe Housing Project twenty years ago, the demolition of the Gardiner will signal yet another defeat for the Modern Project. A small section of it should be kept as a monument to its time and its simplistic faith in technical progress. After stripping the Gardiner of its overwhelming utilitarian meaning, we may learn to cherish it as a memento of our collective childhood (214).

Kirkland is too quick to consign the elevated expressway to the dustbin of history. The wheeled automobile, whether powered by petroleum or the hydrogen fuel cell, is not going anywhere. The demand for the Gardiner’s services remains — much as water continues to flow into cities around the world through the decendents of the Roman aqueduct.

Living with the Gardiner Expressway

Architect Michael Kirkland has written that the urban expressway is an “indigestible” object.19 By this he means that the expressway, like the high-rise apartment superblock and other megastructures, belongs to a category of built objects that resists integration into the city’s fine, historically-evolved network of streets, lots, and buildings. Operating at a larger scale than the historical urban fabric, the megastructure can’t be broken down, or “digested” into its surroundings. An efficient automobile transmission system, the Gardiner Expressway has far more in common with a railway, a canal, or a high-voltage electrical transmission corridor than with streets, buildings, and other places where people live out their public and private lives. Kirkland challenges past discussions, such as those in Ferguson and Ferguson’s and Reuber’s reports, that interpret the elevated expressway as analogous to the building, the street, the colonnade, or the city wall. (See box, page 5.) Each of these forms comes with a design vocabulary that leads to a specific course of action. While it may share some of their characteristics, the urban elevated expressway is none of these things. The fact that cars drive on the Gardiner does not make it a street. Putting a building under it does not turn it into a building with a road on top. Its overwhelming uninterrupted length makes it difficult to draw lessons from other forms in the search for urban design solutions.


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Given Kirkland’s assertion of the Gardiner’s indigestibility, what solution is possible? In Section 3, the Gardiner was discussed as a “fragmentary edge” — a structure that can be seen only at points along its length, yet forms a continuous barrier in people’s minds. This psychological effect can be countered by breaking down the image of the expressway into a series of very different parts, each with its own identity. By reinforcing a unique identity for each part, the expressway will no longer be perceived as a single entity. Only then can it be digested into the urban fabric. To this end, this study divides the Gardiner into six areas, each with its own set of characteristics and relationships to its surroundings.

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4.4 Strategy: Divide and Digest

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Gardiner Rail corridor

AREAS OF COMMONALITY

The six areas were determined by discerning which characteristics possess the strongest effect. The basic discriminator was what lies beneath the Gardiner. This established areas one, two, six, and the combination of areas three through five. This combination was subdivided into three on the basis of proximity to the rail corridor and development potential to the north and south. The areas are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, many characteristics cross multiple areas. For example, the Gardiner separates from the rail corridor in areas two through four, and has ramps in areas three through five. The streets that divide two areas belong to neither, and to both. In Section 6, the areas’ unique conditions will lead to unique design approaches. The extent and characteristics of each area are summarized in the table and map on this page.

Dominant Bay Type (See Appendix B for definitions)

1

2

3

4

5

6

Dufferin to Strachan

Strachan to Bathurst

Bathurst to Spadina

Spadina to Yonge

Yonge to Cherry

Cherry to DVP

Obstructed

Ramps

Use

Obstructed / Stacked

Stacked

Yes

None

None

Distance from Lake Development Potential

Open

500m-700m (farthest) to North

None

100m-550m (closest) High

Medium

at Keating Channel

None

High

High

None

to South

None

High

to North

Rail corridor

Fort York

Future condos

SkyDome, Air Canada Centre

Rail corridor

Industrial area

Future condos

Low-rise condos

High-rise condos

Low-rise buildings

Keating Channel

to South CNE buildings Housing

No

Yes

No

Yes

Recreation Industry and Commerce

Low

300m-500m

No

No Yes

No


5.1

five URBAN DESIGN APPROACHES

Approaches This section proposes four different design approaches: •

• • •

decoration, or æsthetic improvements that

redefine the expressway and establish area identities, containment, or the “walling in” of the Gardiner by adjacent buildings, linkage, or the creation of physical and visual connections across the corridor, and integration, or the building of structures beneath the Gardiner.

ZACK TAYLOR

CONCEPT

The authors of a freeway design manual prepared for the U.S. Secretary of Transportation in 1968 wrote that a well-designed expressway should be “a welcome component of the new city structure — as much a part of its architecture as a fine building.”20 Real-world examples of this principle are, however, few and far between. There is no reason, however, why the elevated expressway, like any other object, cannot be made beautiful. Pillars and the spaces between them can be used as “gallery walls,” decorated to reinforce area identities. Decorative elements can also have a practical purpose. Noise and splatter barriers can be constructed with æsthetics in mind. Salt- and graffiti-resistant coatings and glazes, such as those used at stations of the new Sheppard subway line are applicable.

Figure 32. Friezes and sculptures on the Miller West Side Highway (Forgotten New York website).

Case studies are used to illustrate each approach. Emphasis is placed on interim solutions that can function until the Gardiner is removed, and permanent solutions that will work with or without the Gardiner. While some of the case studies are recent, others are historical. Several are drawn from past reports and reinterpreted in today’s context. 5.2.2 CASE STUDY: THE MILLER WEST SIDE HIGHWAY, NEW YORK CITY

The world’s first elevated urban expressway, the 1937 Miller Elevated Highway in New York City, was completed in 1937. Running along the Hudson River south of 72nd St., it was raised to bypass rail yards and other industrial uses, and to permit crosstraffic to the riverfront.

While the highway’s designers did not anticipate either the future magnitude or speed of traffic, they did pay attention to æsthetic details. The expressway was given the attention accorded to a building of importance. The architecture featured decorated guardrails and light standards, and elaborate friezes marked the passage of cross-streets beneath it. (See Fig. 32.)

Urban Design Approaches

5.2.1

[ 31 ] Living with the Gardiner Expressway

5.2 Decoration


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Urban Design Approaches Living with the Gardiner Expressway

[ 32 ]

5.2.3 CASE STUDY: CORONADO BRIDGE, SAN DIEGO

The support columns beneath San Diego’s Coronado Bridge approach are decorated with paintings.21

5.2.5 CASE STUDY: SR 51 AT THOMAS RD., PHOENIX, AZ

The support columns of a highway interchange in Phoenix, Arizona, are decorated with six 8m-tall reptilian designs. Other parts of the interchange’s underside feature 34 adobe relief panels of aboriginal- and nature-inspired imagery. Artist Marilyn Zwak worked with residents to create the designs. The work was funded by the City of Phoenix’s public art program.

Figure 33. Coronado Bridge, San Diego (Ferguson 26).

5.2.4 CASE STUDY: HANSHIN EXPRESSWAY, TOKYO

Noise reduction materials applied to the underside of Tokyo’s Hanshin Expressway create a defined “ceiling.”

Figure 35. SR 51 at Thomas Rd. highway interchange (Phoenix Arts Commission website).

Figure 34. Noise-reducing additions to the underside of the Hanshin Expressway (Hanshin website).

5.2.6 CASE STUDY: LE QUARTIER ÉPHÉMÈRE, MONTRÉAL

Modeled on the Usines Éphémères project in France, Montréal’s Quartier Éphémère association was established in 1993 to install temporary public art on unused lots and to provide temporarily workspace for artists in vacant buildings. The Quartier Éphémère operates within the area of the Cité du Multimédia, a ten-year redevelopment of an abandoned industrial district into a mixed-use high-tech business cluster. In exchange for free use of a space, the Quartier Éphémère maintains it. When the time comes for the site to be developed, it is reclaimed by its owner.22 Funding and resources for the Quartier Éphémère comes from both public and private sources, including the Canada Council for the Arts, the Government of France, and the Cité du Multimédia’s present and future tenants. The City of Montréal lent an unused building. As a non-profit corporation, individuals and companies can make tax-deductible donations to the Quartier Éphémère. Although many of the projects involve physical installations in and around buildings, some of the more provocative pieces are in the form of projected imagery. (See Fig. 36.)

Figure 36. Top: A series of films with industrial themes by Pierre Huyghe were projected onto the side of the Royal Electric building. Bottom: Projections of falling water on grain silos, by Atelier In Situ (Quartier Éphémère website).


ZACK TAYLOR

5.3.1

CONCEPT

No taller than a low-rise building, elevated expressways can be hidden from view by other buildings. As shown in Section 3, the areas surrounding the Gardiner and rail corridor are already heavily built up. The walling-off of the rail corridor by the back of the St. Lawrence neighbourhood is one example (see Fig. 37), as is the line of condominiums along Queen’s Quay (see Fig. 38).

The result is the above-ground equivalent of the trench expressway, an example of which is Montréal’s Decarie Autoroute. (See Fig. 39.) By hiding the “traffic sewer” from view, containment blocks visual or physical links across it. A wall of buildings is a more solid visual barrier than the expressway’s open bays. As a result, containment should only be used in situations where there is no adjacent developable land on which to pursue any other strategy. Figure 39. The Decarie Autoroute in Montréal.

Urban Design Approaches

5.3 Containment

Figure 37. The St. Lawrence neighbourhood faces northwards, lining the rail corridor with a hard wall.

Figure 38. The Queen’s Quay condos face southwards, turning their backs to the expressway.

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[ 33 ]


Urban Design Approaches

ZACK TAYLOR

5.4 Physical Linkage 5.4.1

CONCEPT

Physical links can take a number of forms, depending on what is being connected, and the characteristics of the environment. If the areas on both sides contain residential, commercial, or recreational activity, then there is less need to “activate” the linking space. Where the areas on one or both sides have little activity in them, then the link must itself be made an active destination. This distinction is brought out in the case studies. Figure 41. Greenberg’s FDR Expressway proposal: cross-section. The East River is at right (TWDI). 5.4.2 CASE STUDY: FERGUSON’S SPADINA GATE PROPOSAL, TORONTO

Ferguson and Ferguson proposed a series of gates at major intersections, and provided demonstration illustrations for one at Spadina. Their gate is a freestanding structure suitable to temporary use.

Living with the Gardiner Expressway

[ 34 ]

Figure 40. Ferguson and Ferguson’s Spadina Gate proposal (Ferguson 37).

5.4.3 CASE STUDY: GREENBERG’S FDR EXPRESSWAY PROPOSAL, NEW YORK CITY

Ken Greenberg’s design for the FDR Expressway on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, confronts and solves a very different set of issues. The FDR is almost at the water’s edge, separating the regular urban fabric of lower Manhattan from a narrow waterfront promenade. There is little potential for building on this strip except where piers jut into the harbour. As well, the roadbed is much closer to the ground than the Gardiner’s, creating a more enclosed space. Greenberg puts the expressway’s traffic into two lanes, turning the other two into an elevated pedestrian colonnade that connects to the piers. (See Fig. 41.) Greenberg is most concerned with the barrier effect of traffic on the ground. In this project, and in his public discussion of the Gardiner/Lake Shore, he asserts that an elevated expressway is less of a barrier to pedestrian and other local travel than a busy, ground-level roadway. In Fig. 42, he proposes a well-lit space with benches, landscaping, and retail kiosks. The space beneath the expressway becomes a colonnade that one can either cross or walk along.

Figure 42. Greenberg’s colonnade proposal for the FDR Expressway: present condition and proposal rendering (TWDI).


ZACK TAYLOR

Urban Design Approaches

Figure 43. Approaching the Gardiner from the north along Fort York Blvd.

5.4.4 CASE STUDY: FORT YORK BLVD., TORONTO

5.5 Visual Linkage 5.5.1

[ 35 ]

CONCEPT

Visual connections are just as important as physical links. The longer the vista through the expressway, the more transparent it becomes, and the less the psychological barrier will manifest itself.

Figure 44. Greenberg’s conversion of the mouth of Don into a marsh (TWDI).

5.5.2 CASE STUDY: GREENBERG’S PROPOSAL FOR THE MOUTH OF THE DON RIVER, TORONTO

At the Toronto Waterfront Design Initiative charrette held in October 2002, Ken Greenberg’s team proposed the creation of a marsh at the Don River’s mouth, stretching from the rail berm to the quays on the other side of the Keating Channel. In his scheme, the Gardiner’s pillars rise out of the renaturalized landscape. (See Fig. 44.) He proposes that Lake Shore Blvd. be redirected northwards between Parliament and Cherry, opening up the area beneath the Gardiner to clear views and movement through the bays. He also proposes suspending a nature interpretation centre from the road deck that would look down on the mixed natural and industrial landscape below.

Living with the Gardiner Expressway

The recently completed Fort York Blvd. shows how the passage beneath the Gardiner can be made more hospitable with paving, planting, and a generous separation of sidewalks and bicycle paths from the street. (See Fig. 43.) The surrounding area is undeveloped at the present time. To the north are Fort York, the Bathurst rail bridge, and the undeveloped rail lands. To the south is the mostly-empty Molson parcel. Until the CityPlace and Water Park City condominium developments fill in these areas and generate through-travel, Fort York Blvd. is a link from nowhere to nowhere.


ZACK TAYLOR

Urban Design Approaches

5.5.3 CASE STUDY: WATERFRONT PARK, LOUISVILLE, KY

At a cost of US$90 million, 120 acres of Louisville’s Ohio River waterfront were redeveloped into parkland in the late 1990s. The area is dominated by the cloverleaf intersection of three interstates. Several rail lines also run along the waterfront. (See Fig. 45.) The lands were previously occupied by sand and gravel yards, oil storage facilities, and an asphalt transfer plant. The park slopes down to the river’s edge, which is designed to accommodate major floods. (See Fig. 46.)

Ohio River

I-65

I-71

I-64

Downtown Louisville

Figure 45. A schematic map of the Louisville Lakefront Park..

[ 36 ] Living with the Gardiner Expressway

Lakefront Park

Figure 46. Two views of the park: The park spans multiple elevated rail- and roadways (Calkins).

Figure 47. The slope passing beneath the expressway is landscaped to create a strong connection to the river. The slope also permits clear views to the river and the opposite shoreline both above and below the expressway (Calkins).

Park spaces are programmed for various uses. These include an amphitheatre, a Great Lawn for sporting use, a Festival Plaza for major events such as the Kentucky Derby Festival and a fireworks event, a wharf, and a 300m-long linear fountain that visually connects the downtown to the river. These spaces each slope under the freeway, connecting the park to the city’s fabric to the south. (See Fig. 47.) Two major interventions were made. First, River Rd., a high-speed, at-grade boulevard running beneath the elevated expressway was rerouted into downtown. This removed the double barrier of a stacked roadway. Second, one of the on-ramps to the expressway was moved one block west of its previous location, opening up a desirable view sightline to the river. As a result, landscape architect Meg Calkins wrote that “the freeway

overhead is hardly noticed as the sunlight on the lawn, the cascading linear fountain, and the clear view to the river pull one forward to the Ohio.” Glenn Allen of Hargreaves Associates, the park’s designer, says that before, “one could only see the north bank of the Ohio — not the river itself. By carving the bank back and giving the lawn a tilt, the view from the city to the river is open, and one psychologically slides right under the freeway into the water.”23


Where there is no roadway running beneath the expressway, structures can be inserted to establish a street edge. (See Fig. 48, left.) If a façade obscures the roadbed on one or both sides, the building has the added effect of containing the expressway. (See Fig. 48, right.) By creating a wall of façades, however, integration works at cross-purposes with visual linkage.

5.6.2 CASE STUDY: THE LOBLAWS BUILDING, TORONTO

The Loblaws Building, at Bathurst and Lake Shore Blvd., is a made-in-Toronto example of inserting a building under the expressway. The Loblaws Building predates the Gardiner. (See Fig. 50.)

5.6.3 CASE STUDY: JAPANESE EXPRESSWAYS

In Japan, high land values have led to elaborate juxtapositions of expressways with other uses. One frequently-cited case is in the Ginza area of Tokyo, where a street runs atop a colonnade infilled with shops. (See Fig. 51.)

A more contemporary example is the Hanshin Expressway. Portions of the expressway run on top of and through buildings. (See Fig. 52.)

Urban Design Approaches

CONCEPT

Figure 48.

[ 37 ]

Integration can also reinforce through-linkages. The building of a hard edge along the expressway also creates opportunities to define exceptions — passages through which the expressway can be crossed. (See Fig. 49.) Figure 52. Top: The Umeda off-ramp passes through a building. Bottom: The Semba viaduct is fully built under. (Hanshin website.)

Figure 49. Integration can define through-passages. The black arrow indicates the expressway. The grey arrow indicates the through-passage between two buildings.

Integration need not take the form of total infilling. The Richmond example in Section 5.6.4 shows how the insertion of smaller-scale structures such as walkways, small buildings, and landscape elements can reanimate an derelict space.

Figure 50. Top: Looking north along Bathurst, the tall part of the Loblaws Building blocks views of the Gardiner, which passes over the single-storey annex to the back. Bottom: From Fort York Blvd. looking east, the Gardiner bridges the Loblaws Building.

Figure 51. Ginza district, Tokyo (Reuber 12; Ferguson and Ferguson 11; Urban Advisors 84).

Living with the Gardiner Expressway

5.6.1

ZACK TAYLOR

5.6 Integration


DO W

NT

OW

PET

NE XP

RICH ERS MONDBUR G T’ PIKE

60

The downtown core of Richmond, Virginia, was cut off from the James River by both large-scale transportation infrastructure and a decaying industrial district. A plan to revitalize the historic canal system was developed by the Philadelphia firm Wallace Roberts & Todd in 1993 and implemented by a state-chartered development corporation.

I-3

ZACK TAYLOR

Urban Design Approaches

5.6.4 CASE STUDY: CANAL WALK, RICHMOND, VA

RE

SS

WA Y Downtown Richmond

Waterfront Park

Living with the Gardiner Expressway

[ 38 ] Canal Walk

James River

Richmond’s waterfront is dominated by an elevated expressway cloverleaf. Some of the roadways are double-decked, and an elevated rail line also runs along the water. The most difficult condition is a junction called the “Triple Cross,” where the elevated Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike, the Downtown Expressway, and three rail lines intersect. (See Fig. 53.) Beneath this tangle is the Canal Walk, which features the reconstruction of two historic canals that snake in and out of the elevated structures. Completed in 1999 at a cost of US$28 million, the canals are lined with pedestrian paths and are open to boat travel. (See Fig. 54.) The result is the successful reclamation of derelict lands for public and private use. Several hundred million dollars of investment is flowing into the area, including hotel and convention centre expansions, a Civil War museum located in the historic Tredeger Iron Works, a new performing arts centre, and several hundred loft apartment units.

Figure 53. A schematic map of the Richmond riverfront. The “Triple Cross” is the three-level combination of rail- and highways at the centre of the map.

Figure 54. Canals and walkways snake in and out of the elevated structures’ pillars (Mays).


Dutch architect Erik van Egeraat’s notional rendering of the Keating Channel inserts an abstract form within the bays. Although he ignores the presence of Lake Shore Blvd. beneath the Gardiner, he shows how a façade treatment or structure within the bays could transform the Keating Channel into a boldly-defined “water room.” (See Fig. 55.)

The case studies show that the Gardiner is not beyond remedy. The four approaches described in this section — decoration, containment, linkage, and integration — have all been applied in situations not dissimilar to, and often more complex than Toronto’s waterfront. Section 6 will apply these approaches and case studies to the areas of commonality, defined at the end of Section 4.

Urban Design Approaches

5.6.5 CASE STUDY: VAN EGERAAT’S KEATING CHANNEL PROPOSAL, TORONTO

ZACK TAYLOR

5.7 Conclusion

Figure 55. Looking west along the Keating Channel, Van Egeraat envisions an in-filled Gardiner overlooking a renaturalized waterway (TWDI).

Living with the Gardiner Expressway

[ 39 ]


ZACK TAYLOR

Urban Design Approaches

six AREA-SPECIFIC OPTIONS

This section considers each of the waterfront corridor areas set out in Section 4. Specific approaches for each area will be described in light of the analysis in Section 3, and the case studies in Section 5. The greatest potential for intervention is at the relatively unbuilt-up western and eastern extremities of the elevated Gardiner, between Strachan and Bathurst, and between Cherry and the Don Valley Parkway. Without moving Lake Shore Blvd. from its present alignment, the only available option in the central waterfront is containment, though there is potential for improved linkages at cross-streets.

6.1

Dufferin to Strachan

6.1.1

EVALUATION

There is no development potential next to or beneath the Gardiner between Dufferin and Strachan due to its enclosure by the rail corridor to the north and large CNE buildings to the south. (See Fig. 57.) Most of the Gardiner’s bays are filled in with Toronto Hydro facilities, storage space, and the Queen’s Quay streetcar turnaround loop. (See Fig. 58.) The construction of the Liberty Village townhouse development between the arms of the rail corridor will strengthen Strachan’s role as a link across the Gardiner and rail corridors. (See Fig. 56.)

Living with the Gardiner Expressway

[ 40 ]

E

S

W

Figure 56. Panoramic photograph from east to west, looking south from the new townhouses on Douro St. The crane is erecting the Liberty Village residential development.


The desolate 500m distance across the rail corridor and the Gardiner at Strachan should be interrupted by establishing a street edge between the forks of the rail corridor. The Liberty Village housing development will permit this. (See Figs. 60 and 61.) The Liberty Village development should not turn its back to Strachan.

DECORATION

Bridge improvements and a gateway signifying entry to Fort York and the CNE would identify the connection to the other side and provide a muchneeded windbreak. (See Figs. 58 and 59.)

S Figure 58. Looking south-west from the rail bridge at Strachan.

W

Urban Design Approaches

6.1.3

PHYSICAL LINKAGE

Welcome to the CNE & Fort York! urst

chan

St.

Stra Av e .

D u ff

Figure 59. At Strachan, a symbolic gateway to the waterfront. At right, the wall of a building shields the Liberty Village

erin St.

new development along Douro St.

t. en S Que

[ 41 ] Rail corridor

Liberty Village development

King

residential neighbourhood from the rail corridor.

recommended street edge

Fort York

St.

Gardiner

National Trade Centre

S

W

Figure 60. Panoramic photograph from south to north, looking into the Liberty Village development from Strachan. C.N.E. grounds Lak

e

r Sho

lv eB

d.

gateway feature

Ontario Place

100 0

Figure 57.

300 200

500m 400

Figure 61. A buildings along Strachan would animate the space between the two arms of the rail corridor.

N

Living with the Gardiner Expressway

6.1.2

ZACK TAYLOR

Enclosed bays


6.2.1

EVALUATION

Although the distance between the Gardiner and the lake is much greater in Toronto than in Louisville, Toronto’s situation is much less complex than Louisville’s tangle of highways, bridges, and rail lines. In the Louisville case, the view of the river and the opposite shore through the expressway’s bays is essential to the project’s success.

t. en S

chan

St.

6.2.2 VISUAL LINKAGE

Av e . Garrison Creek park system

St.

or orrid rail c lvd. kB r o rt Y

Liberty Village development

Fo

Fort York

Gardiner .

vd

l yB

ua

Fleet St.

C.N.E. grounds e

Gardiner

Blv

d.

York to the lake.

Ontario Place

100 0

Qu

Water Park City condo site

Molson brewery

300 200

Toronto Island Airport

500m 400

Figure 62.

Fort York

Rail Corridor

Figure 64. A rendering looking west from the CN Tower: a continuous park space runs from Fort

ee

Park

Lak

Aside from a scattering of buildings, there are few blockages to sightlines to the lake. From Fort York there are cleat sightlines to the lake. (See Fig. 63.) Setting aside the vacant land south of the Gardiner as a park would establish a near-continuous green zone between the water and the Garrison Creek park system to the north. (See Fig. 64.) Although this is the more compelling option, it is already largely foreclosed. The Water Park City high-rise condominium development is now being built in the path of the south-pointing arrow in Fig. 64.

Q n’s

National Trade Centre

re Sho

In Toronto, the almost complete “walling in” of its south flank by buildings limits opportunities to use the Gardiner as a framing device for north-south views. Bathurst-Strachan and Cherry to the DVP are the only two locations where this approach is possible. Between Bathurst and Strachan, both visual linkage and integration strategies are feasible, though not at the same time, as building beneath the Gardiner necessarily blocks views through it.

Que

King

[ 42 ] Living with the Gardiner Expressway

urst

Truck Marshalling Yard

e. a Av

Bath

Fort York parking lot

Stra

Urban Design Approaches

ZACK TAYLOR

6.2 Strachan to Bathurst

Figure 63. Looking through the Gardiner from the Fort York parking lot to the lake.


ZACK TAYLOR

6.2.3 INTEGRATION

Urban Design Approaches

The present alignment of Lake Shore Blvd. makes building under the Gardiner impossible except between Strachan and Bathurst. Structures could be built under the Gardiner along Fort York Blvd. Free-standing temporary or permanent buildings would permit the Gardiner’s future removal. Temporary parking structures are a logic choice for the space beneath the Gardiner. One inspiration is Boston architect Fred Koetter’s design for a small, flat-floorplate parking structure that is convertible to office or residential uses. In addition, its outer perimeter can be lined with office or retail uses, creating an active streetfront. (See Fig. 65.) The City’s Bathurst/Strachan Secondary Plan envisions low-rise buildings south of the Gardiner and beneath it. (See Fig. 66.) At present this is the site of a truck marshalling yard and the Molson Brewery.

Figure 66. The City’s rendering of a low-rise cluster of buildings on the land between the Gardiner and Lake Shore Blvd. (City of Toronto 2002a: Map 13-5).

Figure 65. Rendering of building infill along Fort York Blvd., before and after.

Living with the Gardiner Expressway

[ 43 ]


6.3.1

6.3.2 CONTAINMENT

EVALUATION

Options are very limited where the Gardiner runs next to the rail corridor, above Lake Shore Blvd., or both. Containment is the only available option between Bathurst and Spadina.

St.

dina Av e .

urst St.

The wall of condominiums facing Queen’s Quay present their backs to the Gardiner. The presence of ramps and the Lake Shore Blvd. westbound lane overpass prevent the creation of a street edge to the north. (See Fig. 68.) The Front St. Extension, however, may enable the removal of some ramps and the Lake Shore overpass. If this occurs, buildings facing the expressway at ground level are possible. Otherwise, the only option will be to “wall in” the traffic by orienting the Water Park City condos away from Gardiner.

C.N.E.

Fort York

t. en S

Que

Bathurst St.

King

St.

F ro n

[ 44 ] Living with the Gardiner Expressway

John

Spa

Bath

Urban Design Approaches

ZACK TAYLOR

6.3 Bathurst to Spadina

t St. SkyDome

or

rrid

co Rail

Future CityPlace condos

Queen’s Quay condominiums

iner Gard

Fort York d.

ay Blv

’s Qu

n Quee

Spadina A ve. Lake Shore Blvd. overpass

Toronto Island Airport

100 0

300 200

500m

Figure 68. View from the CN Tower looking west. CityPlace lands are indicated with white dashed lines.

400

Figure 67.


EVALUATION

6.4.2 CONTAINMENT

There is a continuous line of condominium buildings from Spadina through to York that back onto the Gardiner. The only option is for the future development to the north to do the same.

Urban Design Approaches

Between Spadina and Yonge there is even less flexibility than between Bathurst and Spadina. The present configuration of ramps, including the split ramp of the York St. exit that descends down to Harbour St., makes it difficult to imagine vibrant street life next to the Gardiner.

6.4.3 PHYSICAL LINKAGE: BAY

Jarv t. is S

e Yong

t.

St.

St.

St.

Spa

John

e. y Av

York

ersit

Bay

Univ

en S

Que

St.

dina

St.

Av e .

King

Between York and Yonge, the Gardiner veers north to rejoin the rail corridor. Here, the Air Canada Centre (A.C.C.) is a prime example of containment. By matching it in scale, and establishing a strong street wall on Bay, the A.C.C. also turns the Gardiner into an archway to the space beyond. (See Figs. 70 and 71.) This gateway effect could be strengthened by installing something like Ferguson and Ferguson’s freestanding arch. (See Fig. 72.) Similar arches could also be erected at York and Yonge.

r

t St.

or

n’s Quee

Quay

rd Ga

our

[ 45 ] Figure 71. Looking east from the CN Tower: The Air Canada Centre spans the gap between

St.

rb Ha

SkyDome

orrid

c Rail

A.C.C.

Union Station

Union Station and the Gardiner Expressway.

ine

F ro n

A.C.C.

Harbourfront!

Blvd.

split York St. ramp

Figure 70. The Air Canada Centre matches the Gardiner in height.

Toronto Island Airport

100 0

Figure 69.

300 200

500m 400

Figure 72. Left: The Gardiner meets the Air Canada Centre. The street wall turns the Gardiner into a gateway. Right: Rendering: A strong street wall points the pedestrian to a gateway.

Living with the Gardiner Expressway

6.4.1

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6.4 Spadina to Yonge


6.5.1

6.5.2 CONTAINMENT

EVALUATION

Between Yonge and Cherry, the Gardiner runs adjacent to the elevated rail corridor. The combined effect of the Gardiner, Lake Shore Blvd., ramps, and the rail corridor is, once again, difficult to tame. (See Fig. 74.) Containment is the only option given the present condition, though there is potential for improved links across the Gardiner and rail corridors at Jarvis, Sherbourne, Parliament, and Cherry.

Sherbourne Jarvis

Yonge

Figure 74. Together, the Gardiner and the rail corridor present an almost insurmountable barrier.

P

t. rry S

r ne

St.

St.

Bay

e Yong

t. is S

St.

Jarv

t. nt S

rbou

dead space

Parliament

DV

Che

iame

She

[ 46 ] Living with the Gardiner Expressway

Due to the wall of St. Lawrence neighbourhood buildings to the north and the elevation of the rail corridor, there are no open views through Gardiner. The eastbound lanes of Lake Shore Blvd. south of the expressway function as high-speed collectors for ramps. (See Fig. 75.) Unless traffic is reduced through ramp removals, the best option between the cross-streets is to continue to contain the Gardiner and the rail corridor with strong building edges. Indeed, this is what Jack Diamond proposed at the TWDI charrette, with a parking structure shielding the new waterfront neighbourhood from the expressway. (See Fig. 76.) Parl

Urban Design Approaches

ZACK TAYLOR

6.5 Yonge to Cherry

Figure 75. Looking west from Jarvis St. along Lake Shore Blvd.

Rail

idor

corr

A.C.C.

e Qu

en

’s Q

y ua

Blv

d.

N

dead space

Figure 76. A cross-section at Parliament by Jack Diamond (TWDI). 100 0

Figure 73.

300 200

500m 400

S


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Figure 77. The Parliament crossing, from the north.

Figure 78. The Parliament crossing, from the south.

Urban Design Approaches

Unlike at Bathurst and Strachan, where the challenge is to enclose the open space surrounding the link, the problem to the east is too much enclosure. The differing heights of the railbed and the Gardiner cannot be bridged. This problem is compounded by the width of the dead space between them — approximately 10m. (See Fig. 73.) The crossing at Parliament shows the most promise. (See Fig. 77 and 78.) First, it is the point where the rail corridor and the Gardiner are the closest together. Second, it is the proposed location for a new GO Transit station. This means that the dead space can be infilled with the station’s waiting area and ticket desk. If the traffic on Lake Shore Blvd. were to be taken out from under the Gardiner and run in adjacent lanes, something like Greenberg’s FDR Expressway proposal could be built. (See Fig. 41, p. 34.)

[ 47 ] Living with the Gardiner Expressway

6.5.3 PHYSICAL LINKAGE


nature centre

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Ken Greenberg’s marsh proposal demonstrated that the Gardiner need not be incompatible with plans for the renaturalization of the mouth of the Don River. Both his idea and Van Egeraat’s “water room” concept open up numerous possibilities for integration, and visual and physical linkage. (See pages 35 and 39.)

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Urban Design Approaches

EVALUATION

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6.6 Cherry to the DVP

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Beneath the Gardiner, drivers on Lake Shore Blvd. see a seemingly endless sequence of unadorned concrete arches. (See Fig. 81.) The San Diego case shows how the physical structure can be modified to reflect the identity of the areas to the north or south. A Toronto precedent for using public art to denote place identity is the colonnade of sculptures on poles along the Spadina streetcar line. The Hanshin case clearly shows that with the benefit of modern materials, sound-proofing and protection of the structure from salt and graffiti can be combined with æsthetically-pleasing forms.

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Figure 80. Greenberg’s rendering of the renaturalized mouth of the Don, with some additions (TWDI).

6.6.2 INTEGRATION AND LINKAGE

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Figure 79.

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The multilayered Richmond case is instructive here. If Lake Shore Blvd. is taken out from under the Gardiner or is itself elevated above the renaturalized landscape, uninterrupted foot, bicycle, or boat travel across the corridor is possible. The rail berm could be extended and used as a look-off to the south, creating Louisville-like views through the Gardiner to the landscape beyond. (See Fig. 80.)

Figure 81. Looking west along Lake Shore Blvd. at Bay.


The Quartier Éphémère model is applicable throughout the waterfront. Locations for temporary public art include: • • • • • • •

the north side of Fort York Blvd. beneath the Gardiner, the future site of the Water Park City condominium, the land contained by the York off-ramp loop, the empty lots and parking lots between York and Jarvis, the former Tent City area, between Parliament and Cherry, the dead space between the rail corridor and the Gardiner, east of Yonge, and the industrial lands between the Gardiner and rail corridor, east of Cherry.

Images could be projected onto the Gardiner’s structure, the Redpath Sugar complex, and the Victory Soya Mills silos. Buildings suitable for temporary occupancy or use by artists include: • • •

the Tip Top lofts, the Loblaws building, and the low-rise commercial buildings on both sides of Queen’s Quay between Yonge and Parliament.

The area-specific approaches described are summarized in Fig. 82. This report assumed no large-scale interventions such the rerouting of Lake Shore Blvd. It is clear, however, that without some expensive moves along these lines, the scope for “digesting” the Gardiner between street crossings is limited. Between Spadina and Cherry there is little choice but to replicate the walling-in of the Gardiner and rail corridor that we see between Dufferin and Strachan. The most compelling urban design possibilities are from Strachan to Bathurst and Cherry to the DVP. Chief Planner Paul Bedford’s assertion that action on the Gardiner must happen soon or development will crowd out options is especially true in these areas. The City must work to avoid repeating the mistakes made in the central waterfront as development overtakes the corridor’s extremities. In the more distant future, when individual automobiles become less important, the Gardiner may begin a new life. Looking to Greenberg’s FDR Expressway proposal (see page 34) one might imagine a segment of the Gardiner becoming an elevated pedestrian walk- and bikeway with a perfect view of the water, perhaps sharing the roadbed with light rail transit. A similar vision is something like the High Line in Manhattan.24 Built in the 1930s to take freight trains off Tenth Avenue, the High Line is an elevated railroad. It ceased operation in 1980 and today is almost entirely grown over with plants. A group of preservationists is fighting to have it turned into a public trail that will provide unique views of the city and the Hudson River, and function as a remarkable monument to the city’s industrial history. (See Figs. 83.)

APPROACH

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already exists

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Jarvis, Sherbourne, Parliament

Visual Linkage

Integration

Figure 82.

Cherry

Urban Design Approaches

PUBLIC ART

[ 49 ]

Tearing down the Gardiner Expressway is not the only solution for the rehabilitation of the waterfront. This research has shown that it may not be the best one, either. City Council’s decision to study the “retain” option must not ignore the potential for the Gardiner to be an asset to the fabric of the city rather than an albatross about its neck.

Figure 83. A view across the Hudson River from the High Line, grown over with grass (Friends of the High Line website.)

Living with the Gardiner Expressway

6.7.2

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6.8 Conclusions


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Notes 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

7. 8.

9.

Living with the Gardiner Expressway

[ 50 ] 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24.

Gillespie (2002); Lorinc (2003). Reeves (1992) 94-96. Reeves (1992) 94. Reeves (1992) 97. Toronto Society of Architects (2003). Constant dollars calculated based on year-over-year increases in the Consumer Price Index. Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Task Force (2000) 37-39. The Fort York and Garrison Common Parks and Open Space Design and Implementation Plan assumes that the Gardiner will be placed in a tunnel along its current alignment. The plan proposes that a planted pedestrian bridge over the rail corridor and the Front Street Extension will link the Fort to points north. Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Task Force (2000) 38-39; Toronto Chief Planner Paul Bedford’s presentation of the Making Waves document, 27 Feb. 2002. James (2002). Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Task Force (2000) 63, 65. City of Toronto (2000) 65-67. Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation. (2002) 38, 47, 49, 58. City of Toronto (2002a); Lewington, J. (2003. Moloney (2003). Moloney (2003). Leong, M. (2003). Lynch (1960) 63. Kirkland 209. Urban Advisors (1968) 83. Ferguson and Ferguson (26). Quartier Éphémère website; Cité du Multimédia website. Calkins (2001). Friends of the High Line website.

This appendix contains a detailed description of the Gardiner’s structure and relationship to its surroundings. This is important for two reasons:

APPENDIX

First, research indicates that there is no single document that discusses both the Gardiner’s physical elements and its relationship to adjacent uses. Second, the recent insertion of residential activity south of the expressway as well as changes to the structure of the rail corridor are changing how the Gardiner interacts with its surroundings in ways that have not yet been catalogued.

A

Physical Inventory

A.1

MAP: LAND CONSUMPTION

A rough calculation of land area directly covered by the Gardiner yields 21 hectares. The distance between Dufferin and Bouchette is approximately 7km. At six lanes, the expressway is about 30.5m wide. The resulting area is 21.35 hectares, not including ramps. Assuming — and this is a conservative assumption — that the Gardiner has a direct effect on adjacent land at least as far away to either side as the structure is high (10m), then the Gardiner’s sphere of influence is at least 47 hectares. By comparison, railway tracks cover approximately 40 hectares between Dufferin and Bouchette. The railway’s sphere of influence is much greater, especially at the east and west ends of the corridor.


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Rail activity Gardiner Expressway The Gardiner’s sphere of influence (double the Gardiner’s width, plus ramp footprints)

Gardiner Expressway 21 hectares (approximate)

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Map A-1 Land Consumption of the Gardiner Expressway and the Rail Corridor


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[ 52 ]

A.2

ROADBED

The elevated portion of the Gardiner Expressway begins at Dufferin and continues through to Bouchette in the east, when traffic returns to ground level. The roadbed ranges from two to four lanes in either direction. Between Dufferin and Strachan, the roadbed is four lanes wide. At this point, it widens to a width of six lanes, at which it remains through the central waterfront area. East of Jarvis, it widens to eight lanes. East of Parliament, the roadbed separates into two four-lane structures, each one carrying traffic in one direction. These each divide into two, with two lanes of each curving north to feed the Don Valley Parkway, and two lanes continuing east. The four-lane eastern segment drops to grade between the Don Roadway and Leslie at Bouchette.

A.3

PILLARS

At its highest, the roadbed is approximately 20m above the ground, though most of it is at 10m, the equivalent of a three- to six-storey building. The roadbed is held up by reinforced concrete pillars at approximately 20m intervals. Each set of pillars supports a concrete crossbeam on which sit a series of steel girders running parallel to the direction of traffic. The paved surface sits atop these girders.

A.4

MAP: ON- AND OFF-RAMPS

Eastbound: • •

On-ramps at: Rees/Spadina, Sherbourne Off-ramps at: Spadina, York, Yonge, DVP

Westbound: • •

On-ramps at: DVP, Yonge, York, Spadina Off-ramps at: Sherbourne, Yonge, Spadina

The map on the next pages shows the locations, direction, and extents of the ramps.


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Map A-4 On- and Off-Ramps


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Living with the Gardiner Expressway

[ 54 ]

Land Use Beneath the Gardiner Between Dufferin and the Don Valley Parkway, there are 291 “bays,” or gaps between sets of pillars. These bays can be divided into for categories:

Dufferin to Bathurst. No road runs beneath the ex-

Gateway bays that straddle north-south streets.

Stacked bays, where the Gardiner is “stacked” above Lake Shore Blvd.

Obstructed bays that have structures such as buildings or ramps within 10m.

pressway, nor are there any on- or off-ramps. From Dufferin to Strachan, the land beneath is used for truck parking, a turnaround loop for the Exhibition streetcar, and a Toronto Hydro facility. Between Strachan and Fort York Blvd., there is no defined use. The entrance into Fort York, Garrison Rd., enters the site on a bridge beneath the Gardiner and over a former rail spur, just east of Strachan. The southern edge of Fort York slopes down to a flat area of land beneath the Gardiner. Between Fort York Blvd. and Bathurst is a truck marshalling yard for the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Empty bays that have nothing within them.

Bathurst to the Don Valley Parkway. In this seg-

The map on the next page shows their locations.

ment vehicles enter and exit the expressway on a series of ramps. Just east of Bathurst, to the east of the Loblaws Building, Lake Shore Blvd. passes beneath the Gardiner, where it stays for the rest of the elevated expressway’s run. The westbound lanes of Lake Shore Blvd. cross Spadina on an overpass running parallel to the Gardiner. The Don Valley Parkway to Bouchette. East of the

Don Valley Parkway, there are no more on- or off-ramps. The Gardiner and Lake Shore Blvd. continue their stacked relationship to Bouchette, where they merge at ground level.


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Map B-1 Land Use Beneath the Gardiner Expressway

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Urban Design Approaches

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Living with the Gardiner Expressway

[ 56 ]

Chronology Year 1943

Event Toronto’s City Planning Board proposes a “Superhighway A” to run along the waterfront.

1949

The Board proposes a “Waterfront Highway” that would bypass Sunnyside and the CNE, and relieve congestion on Lake Shore Blvd.

1953

A Coordinating Committee of the Metro Roads Committee is appointed to develop a “functional plan” for the “Lakeshore Expressway.”

1954

The Lakeshore Expressway is approved, with a route running south of the CNE.

June 1954

Consulting engineer Norman Williams resigns in protest over the route.

July 1954

September 1954 March, 1955

The route is moved north of the CNE, with a flyover over Fort York.

November 1964

The Gardiner is completed to the Don Valley Parkway.

July 1966

The Eastern Gardiner, running east of the Don Valley, is opened.

1971

Cancellation of the Scarborough Expressway

October 1986

September 1988

June 9-11, 1999

2000

The route is moved again to avoid Fort York. Construction begins at the western end.

1957

The Lakeshore Expressway is renamed for Metro Council chair Frederick G. Gardiner.

1962

The Gardiner is opened from the Humber to Spadina.

The urban design reports Guiding the Gardiner and Urbanizing the Gardiner are submitted to Council’s Task Force on the Gardiner/Lakeshore Corridor. The urban design report Gardiner/Lakeshore Corridor: A Civic Design Study is submitted to Council’s Task Force on the Gardiner/Lakeshore Corridor. Council votes to dismantle the eastern segment of the Gardiner from the DVP to Woodbine. The Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Taskforce, led by Robert Fung, recommends dismantling of the Gardiner, with sections in the west to buried and the remainder brought to ground level.

May, 2001

Dismantling of the Gardiner from Bouchette to Woodbine is completed.

December, 2001

Reconstruction of Lake Shore Blvd. from the Don Valley Parkway to Leslie is completed.

May 13-14, 2002

A TWRC-sponsored Transportation Professionals’ Workshop on the Gardiner is held. Participants included the City, TTC, Go Transit, Ontario Ministry of Transportation, Transport Canada, and local and international transportation professionals.

October 17, 2002

The “Review of the Gardiner/ Lake Shore Corridor Proposal Contained in the Central Waterfront Secondary Plan” staff report is released.

January 9, 2003

Council’s waterfront reference group votes to establish a oneyear, $1 million study to evaluate improvements to the existing structure.

February, 2003

The TWRC releases a commissioned study of urban design approaches to leaving the Gardiner in place. The study was produced by architect John van Nostrand and planning consultants Brook McIlroy.


DOCUMENTARY SOURCES

Byrne, D. (1986). True Stories. Film. Byrtus, N., M. Fram, and M. McClelland, eds. (2000). East/West: A Guide to Where People live in Downtown Toronto. Toronto: Coach House Press. Calkins, M. (2001). “Return to the River/” Landscape Architecture Magazine (Jul.):74+. Cité du Multimédia. Website. <http:// www.citemultimedia.com>. Viewed Feb., 2003. City of Toronto (2001). Making Waves: Principles for Building Toronto’s Waterfront / Central Waterfront Part II Plan. — (2002a). Official Plan Vol. 2: Secondary Plans. — (2000). Our Toronto Waterfront: Building Momentum. Staff report. — (2002b). “Staff Report: Review of the Gardiner/Lake Shore Corridor Proposal Contained in the Central Waterfront Secondary Plan” (17 Oct.) Du Toit Allsop Hiller (2001). Fort York and Garrison Common Parks and Open Space Design and Implementation Plan. — (1988). Gardiner-Lakeshore Corridor: A Civic Design Study. Ferguson and Ferguson Architects (1986). Guiding the Gardiner. Forgotten New York. Website. <http:// www.forgotten-ny.com>. Viewed 20 Feb. 2002. Friends of the High Line. Website. <http:// www.thehighline.org>. Viewed March 2003. Gillespie, K. (2002). “Creating a beauty out of the beast.” Toronto Star (8 Feb.) B4-5. Hanshin Expressway Public Corporation. Website. <http://www.hepc.go.jp/english/>. Viewed Feb., 2003. Lorinc, J. (2003). “Divided Highway,” Toronto Life (March) 59-67.

D.2

James, R. (2002), “Bold Fung plan meets reality.” Toronto Star (18 Oct.) B1-B2. Kirkland, M. (1989). “Digesting the Indigestibles.” In D. Mertins, ed., Metropolitan Mutations. Toronto: Little Brown. Lemon, J. (1984). Toronto Since 1918: An Illustrated History. Toronto: Lorimer. Leong, M. (2003). “Gardiner spruce-up on the table.” Toronto Star (10 Jan.) Lewington, J. (2003). “Future of expressway left up in the air.” Globe and Mail (10 Jan.) A12. Lynch, K. (1981). Good City Form. Boston: MIT Press. — (1960). The Image of the City. Boston: MIT Press. Mays, V. (2001). “A Walk Through Time.” Landscape Architecture Magazine (Mar.):60+. Moloney, P. (2003). “Gardiner likely to stay put.” Toronto Star (9 Jan.) Phoenix Arts Commission. Website. <http://www.ci.phoenix.az.us/ARTS/ cp_28.html>. Viewed March 2003. Quartier Éphémère. Website. <http://www.quartierephemere.org>. Viewed Feb. 2003. Reeves, W. (1992). Visions for the Metropolitan Waterfront: Planning in Historical Perspective. Manuscript. Relph, E. (2002). The Toronto Guide: The City, The Fringe, The Region, 3rd ed. Manuscript. Reuber, P. (1986). Urbanizing the Gardiner. Toronto Society of Architects. Website. <http://torontosocietyofarchitects.ca/ newsletters/ winter03/gardiner_62_ 2003.htm>. Viewed Jan. 2003.

Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation. (2002). Our Waterfront: Gateway to a New Canada — The Development Plan and Business Strategy for the Revitalization of the Toronto Waterfront. Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Task Force (2000). Our Toronto Waterfront: Gateway to the New Canada. Urban Advisors to the Federal Highway Administrator (1968). The Freeway in the City. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. Wickson, T. (2002). Reflections on Toronto Harbour: 200 Years of Port Activity and Waterfront Development. Toronto: Toronto Port Authority. Winter, K., moderator. “Roundtable: Public and Private Space.” Perspecta 30. New Haven: Yale University School of Architecture, 9197.

IMAGES

All photographs, maps, and illustrations are by the author unless otherwise indicated. D.3

INTERVIEWS

Blair Lagden, Applications Technologist Works & Emergency Services Traffic Data Centre & Safety Bureau City of Toronto 13 Jan. 2003 Tim Läspa, Program Co-ordinator Transportation Planning Urban Development Services City of Toronto 20 Nov. 2003 D.4

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D.1

EVENTS

Toronto Waterfront Design Initiative, 15-17 Oct. 2002.

Urban Design Approaches

Sources

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Living with the Gardiner Expressway