TORONTO, Ont. – The Gardiner Industry Coalition released an independent study today and the OTA, a contributing member of the group, is standing by its findings.
The study, conducted by the University of Toronto’s Centre for Intelligent Transportation Systems, finds that removing the eastern portion of the Gardiner Expressway would cost Toronto’s economy up to $37 million dollars per year as a result of increased delays and traffic congestion for commercial drivers and commuters travelling downtown.
It also found that the safety of pedestrians and cyclists could be at risk because of the congestions spikes.
To mend the issue, the study reinforces the “hybrid option” which would establish a continuous link to realign the Gardiner’s connection to the DVP and maintain east-west traffic to and from the city.
“Trucking is a critical service to downtown businesses. Further disruptions to commercial operations will lead to increased costs of downtown goods and services as well as possible transportation supply shortages should carriers decide to opt out of the downtown market,” said Stephen Laskowski, senior v.p. of the OTA. “The trucking industry is currently experiencing a capacity crunch as a result of an acute driver shortage. So, do fleets and trucks drivers begin treating downtown Toronto as they currently view deliveries in cities like New York – markets carriers increasingly avoid because drivers refuse to deliver there and there’s better, hassle-free customer options elsewhere as trucking capacity becomes tighter? It’s unfortunate if the removal of the Gardiner East without the vital hybrid option being put in place creates a New York City-type scenario for transportation providers in this city.”
The proposed removal option of the Gardiner is based on assumptions that a Downtown Relief Line, Broadview Extension and the Waterfront East LRT are coming soon, even though they have yet to be funded by any level of government.
“We are certainly supportive of the beautification of Toronto and opening up the waterfront and port lands, but it’s important for the well-being of the city’s economy and for traffic safety that we move ahead with these projects by choosing the least disruptive option available,” Laskowski said.