Unemployed CAD tech pushes progressive Gardiner replacement
Maurice Cacho, cp24.com
Published Tuesday, June 2, 2009 3:24PM EDT
Mark Fraser says he doesn't need an environmental assessment to know what would happen if the Gardiner Expressway was dismantled. He sees the rush hour gridlock every day from the window of his condo, which flanks the downtown artery.
Instead of destroying or maintaining the Gardiner, which runs east-west along the south end of Toronto's downtown, the 30-year-old Computer Aided Design (CAD) technician has come up with his own plan for dealing with the city's aging highway.
It's an underground tunnel with traffic flowing at street level and an elevated grass concourse above. The concourse would conceal the ground-level street.
An underground tunnel is one of the proposals being studied by the City of Toronto.
Underneath ground level there would be two layers of roadway -- one for local traffic and another for express traffic to pass through. To the sides of the lanes would be forced air vents and emergency exits.
Fraser doesn't think Lake Shore Boulevard can support the traffic overflow from the Gardiner, he told CP24.com while looking out his window at traffic rolling along the raised expressway.
"I know the traffic flow on it. I see it every night packed, and I know there's no way the street would be able to accommodate all that," he says.
The tunnel's forced air system would be eco-friendly, sending fumes through scrubbers to remove harmful particles and gases.
The concourse level would contain ramps down to the street level that link the glass-covered retail area with the ground.
The retail space will not only create a market-like atmosphere, but it will also help pay for the project, Fraser says.
Published reports say replacing the Gardiner with a below-grade alternative would cost upwards of $200-million.
"It's more schematics at this point," he says.
It took Fraser, who's between jobs at the moment, two months to put his design together. He knew the issue was going to surface and wanted to make a design that would improve the world and become a landmark in the city.
Born and raised in Toronto, he's also sent this proposal to cabinet ministers, MPs and MPPs as well as city officials - hoping they'll take his idea into consideration.