gardiner expressway brad bradford

Toronto politician under fire for wanting to rebuild Gardiner Expressway

Toronto's top mayoral candidates faced off in yet another contentious debate on Thursday, which included a heated conversation centred around the future of the crumbling eastern portion of the Gardiner Expressway

Current city councillor Brad Bradford specifically criticized two other candidates — namely Josh Matlow and Olivia Chow — for their plans to move the crumbling section of the elevated expressway to ground level instead of rebuilding it. 

"This would add significant delay to a decision that was made in 2015,” Bradford explained during the 90-minute debate. "You would take an elevated expressway, build a ramp down at grade for 240 metres and then you would ramp it back up to the other elevated expressway. That's ludicrous."

Matlow argued that there's no denying that the eastern portion of the highway — which "sticks out like a sore thumb" — must come down, but what the city decides to do with it afterward is the important part. 

A clip of the debate, uploaded by Bradford, began to pick up criticism after several people suggested that rebuilding the crumbling portion of the expressway won't do much to relieve gridlock. 

Back in 2015, City Council voted in favour of a "hybrid" option that would move the expressway 100 metres to the north and rebuilt from the Don Valley Parkway (DVP) to Jarvis Street. 

Later that year, an option to tear down the eastern portion of the highway and replace it with an eight-lane Lake Shore Boulevard failed in a vote of 19-26 at City Council. 

"You know that Gardiner does not equal congestion relief. You are getting desperate," one person responded to Bradford.

"Do you actually live in this city? Tear down that eyesore," another person wrote

Earlier this year, dozens of community groups part of a coalition called Gardiner East Transparency (GET) penned a letter to Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie and city councillors to disclose the full go-forward costs associated with the Gardiner East project, which they alleged could exceed $1 billion. 

Lead photo by

Jack Landau

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