The Gardiner Expressway is a municipal expressway serving traffic in downtown Toronto running close to Lake Ontario’s shoreline. Sections of the highway date back to the 1950s. Starting in the 2000s, urban renewal around the Expressway intensified and extensive repairs to the decades-old highway infrastructure became necessary. As a result, Waterfront Toronto and the City of Toronto jointly undertook a major Individual Environmental Assessment (EA) and Urban Design Study to determine the future of the eastern portion of the Expressway and Lake Shore Boulevard (from approximately Lower Jarvis Street to Leslie Street). Dillon was the lead consultant on this project.
Dillon’s approach to this study focused on facilitating connections between traffic roadways, transit infrastructure, pedestrian accessibility, and active transportation routes. While traffic efficiency was important to the project, creating welcoming and engaging public spaces for residents and tourists was paramount.
Dillon provided recommendations for place-making initiatives that foster communication, interaction and build community such as visual corridors and markers, mixed-use nodes and engaging public spaces. Consultation was a critical element of this project: collaborating with interest groups, generating ideas that resonate with the public, connecting with stakeholders and meeting the regulatory EA requirements.
Community consultation with residents and visitors of Toronto included workshops, on-line discussion forums, opportunity charrettes, walking tours, and business and stakeholder leadership round tables. These consultations, alongside Dillon’s proven track record of innovative urban planning, informed the place-making strategies and urban design solutions that were recommended to Waterfront Toronto and the City of Toronto.
The City of Toronto Council selected Hybrid Alternative #3
as the preferred design approach in 2016. The Final EA Report was available for review in March 2017