GREEN GARDINER: CONSOLIDATED INFRASTRUCTURE PROPOSAL
The Green Gardiner Consolidated Infrastructure proposal has been prepared as a volunteer city-building initiative by Brook McIlroy Inc., Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design, Planning and Transportation Studio; in association with SvN and Entuitive.
The proposal addresses the segment from Cherry Street to Yonge Street and is illustrated as an alternative to the City’s Hybrid Option 3 for the portion west of Cherry Street (The Green Gardiner concept supports the City’s configuration of the Gardiner east of Cherry Street). The City proposal retains the Gardiner in its present configuration between Cherry and Yonge Street. The Green Gardiner seeks to remove the blight and barrier effect of the Gardiner in this segment by placing it over the railway, enclosing both the expressway and the railway with a new neighbourhood and a 9-acre linear park, while‘releasing’ Lake Shore Boulevard to become a Grand Urban Street. 10,000 residential units (including 2,500 affordable units) and 4.6 million sf of commercial space can be developed on land and air rights all presently owned by the City and Province. The revenue generated from the development rights pay for the cost to rebuild and enclose the Expressway; build the Park; and reconstruct Lake Shore Boulevard, while generating significant revenue.
GREEN GARDINER KEY FACTS:
- The Green Gardiner project (also referred to as the ‘Consolidated’ option) envisions rebuilding the elevated expressway over the railway in the segment from Cherry Street to Jarvis Street, covering it with a 1-kilometre long public park with pedestrian and cycling links to the Distillery District and the St.Lawrence Neighbourhood and Market District.
- By shifting the Gardiner north over the railway – 3.4 hectares (9 acres) of City of Toronto land will be released for new mixed-use development framing the north side of Lake Shore Blvd. This mix of mid-rise and taller buildings yields approximately 14.6 million square feet of new development on City and Metrolinx owned lands and air rights.
- With the expressway relocated above the railway, hidden from view and covered with a green park, Lake Shore Boulevard will become a Grand Urban Street framed by shops and cafes on both sides with dedicated bike lanes and wide, tree-lined sidewalks.
- Surrounding residents in the East Bay Front District of the Waterfront and the St Lawrence Neighbourhood will no longer suffer from the blight of both the expressway and the railway – instead they will see and enjoy a new park. By enclosing both the expressway and railway, noise and air-quality impacts are mitigated.
- Similarly those existing building sites on the south side of Lake Shore Blvd. soon to be developed, will no longer have to turn their back on the doubly noxious presence of the expressway and the railway, thus benefiting from a ‘bump-up’ in land values and a dramatic transformation in the attractiveness of these prime waterfront sites.
- The cost to build the Green Gardiner is estimated at $790 million. This includes building the new expressway, the green deck over the Gardiner, demolition of the old expressway and the reconstruction of Lake Shore Boulevard, including contingencies and soft costs.
- Revenues generated from the sale of publicly-owned land and air rights are estimated at $1 billion. In addition the City will realize development charges of $135 million and annual property taxes of $85 million. The value of public land owned by the City and Metrolinx freed up by realigning the Gardiner more than pays for the cost of the Green Gardiner.
- The investment in this public initiative will ‘pay-off’ financially as well as dramatically improve the quality of life for Torontonians.
- Construction of the Green Gardiner would have minimal disruption on traffic flow unlike the “hybrid” option, which would require lane closures during construction; saving millions in congestion costs.
- As a covered structure, the expressway will not be subject to rain and snow and will not require road salt during the winter thus reducing deterioration and maintenance costs.
- The environmental benefits of the Green Gardiner include: enhanced green space and reforestation, reduction in storm water run-off through natural retention, and reduced noise impacts, while creating a much needed public green space within an area that is growing rapidly. As the population continues to intensify, innovative public spaces like the Green Gardiner parkland, become critical to building a 21st century city.
- For Metrolinx, the owner of the railway, the Green Gardiner sets the stage for future development of air rights above the railway corridor by removing the blighting influence of the elevated expressway and providing a green amenity as a focus for future mixed-use development.
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