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Study says buried Gardiner wouldn’t slow drive very much

TORONTO, Ont. -- A new University of Toronto study says tearing down the Gardiner Expressway and putting parts of i...

TORONTO, Ont. — A new University of Toronto study says tearing down the Gardiner Expressway and putting parts of it underground will add only about two minutes to the morning drive into downtown.

The study was unveiled yesterday to about 20 city councillors at a meeting of the U of T’s new Intelligent Transportation Systems Centre.

It’s called Option 8A, and is considered by the U of T and the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation (TWRC) to be the best option for taking down the Gardiner while creating green space, wide streets and easy access to the waterfront area. The study was done by the U of T in partnership with the TWRC.

The study would see eastbound lanes of the Gardiner from Bathurst Rees St. put underground. The expressway would stop at Rees St. and join with Lake Shore Blvd., which would be widened to six lanes.

One or two eastbound lanes east of Yonge St. would branch off, using a natural embankment along a railway line to connect Lake Shore Blvd. to the Don Valley Parkway.

Westbound, the Gardiner would be buried from York St. to Spadina Ave., then run above ground parallel to Lake Shore Blvd. for several kilometres.

U of T researchers believe speed limits would likely be 70 km/h on the underground sections of the Gardiner, and 50 km/h on Lake Shore Blvd.

A key part of Option 8A is a two-kilometre extension of Front St. to Dufferin St. with connection to the Gardiner, which was approved by Toronto City Council last week.

Improvement of the Richmond St. exit into downtown from the DVP is another option under the U of T plan for the Gardiner.

Robert Fung, chairman of the TWRC, said the corporation won’t be making any official recommendations for the Gardiner until it has the same kind of detailed information about a “leave-up option,” which is not expected for at least six months.

The Option 8a plan for the Gardiner would cost about $1.8 billion and take six to seven years.

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