Scrutiny of Viaducts intensifies as Safdie urges removal of Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway

Debate about the future of Vancouver’s Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts should intensify next month as the city’s engineering staff reaches the half-way point of a consultant’s study on the options to remove all or part of the city’s abandoned freeway project.

Gordon Price has confirmed April 7 as the date for a Simon Fraser University public forum on the issue that will include former city planner Larry Beasley a lead member of the city’s consulting team. Details will be available here next week. Soon after, the phase 1 report on the Viaducts will go to council.

That’s just a week after the Vancouver visit of Kee Yeon Hwang, the Seoul engineer who removed an entire expressway to daylight the city’s ancient and sacred stream.

On Saturday, I’ll be doing my sixth community meeting on the Viaducts with a group of Chinatown community leaders, the second discussion in that neighbourhood. Earlier meetings occurred in Grandview, Strathcona and Citygate.

Meanwhile, Moshe Safdie, the globally-renowned architect who designed the main branch of the Vancouver Public Library, has urged Toronto to consider tearing down the Gardiner Expressway, the decrepit freeway that slices the waterfront away from the city core.

Safdie’s latest project on the waterfront backs up to the Gardiner, which is more often a parking lot than a thoroughfare. The Gardiner will eventually come down, he says, because “it’s too divisive.” This paradigm shift, however, will not occur during Mayor Rob Ford’s term, which is intended to see the end of the “war on the car.”