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Toronto mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat has unveiled a plan to tear down the eastern part of the Gardiner Expressway and replace it with she calls a “grand boulevard.”
“We can build new communities with new jobs in retail and employment and affordable housing — places for people to live — by unlocking this land,” Keesmaat said at a news conference on Sunday.
“This is really about creating a livable city. It’s about creating a sustainable city. It’s about creating a green city, and it is about moving Toronto into the 21st century.”
Keesmaat said her plan would cost $500 million less than a project championed by Mayor John Tory and approved by council in 2015. That project would see portion of the Gardiner torn down and then rebuilt.
“This kind of a structure is really a relic of the past,” Keesmaat told reporters. “Forward-looking cities are tearing down their elevated expressways and instead creating new communities and new places.”
Keesmaat added that the money saved would be reinvested into transit.
“We know that we can’t be adding more cars into to the downtown. There’s not enough room on the streets to be doing that,” she said.
“We know that we can add more people and more pedestrians if we build better transit that really makes transit a true choice in every corner of the city.”
Keesmaat has already spoken out against the Gardiner, calling a council decision for the multi-billion dollar rebuild “frivolous spending” in January.
In response to Keesmaat’s announcement, Mayor John Tory said her plan would dump thousands of vehicles — including large trucks — into downtown neighbourhoods and would pose a risk to the environment and public safety.
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