Tearing down Toronto's Gardiner East Expressway would remove a hulking blight from downtown, improve access to the waterfront, open up land for walkable development, and save hundreds of millions of dollars compared to rebuilding the highway.
Replacing the elevated road with a surface street would have cost $137 million less upfront (in Canadian dollars) than rebuilding it, and nearly $500 million less in total costs over the next 100 years.
While Rob Ford may no longer be mayor, his successor, John Tory, pushed hard for keeping the highway, saying it was a vote to "keep congestion under control."
But history and experience don't support Tory's view. The removal of center-city highways like the Embarcadero in San Francisco, the Miller Highway in New York, and the Park East in Milwaukee shows that drivers quickly adapt by choosing new routes, consolidating trips, or opting for different modes of travel -- and carmageddon doesn't materialize.
Tanya became Streetsblog's Capitol Hill editor in September 2010 after covering Congress for Pacifica Radios Washington bureau and for public radio stations around the country. She lives car-free in a transit-oriented and bike-friendly neighborhood of Washington, DC.