When council meets next week to decide the fate of the Gardiner Expressway, it will have more to consider than the future of the elevated highway.
The real issue is the future of the city.
Mayor John Tory (open John Tory’s policard) supports expanding the Gardiner, but in this case, his much-admired decency won’t be enough to win the argument. He is not just on the wrong side of history, but of Toronto itself.
The opportunity to take down the elevated highway, even east of Jarvis St., is one the city cannot afford to miss, a point not lost on the majority of Torontonians — 60 per cent — that according to a recent poll support demolition.
This is extraordinary in its own right. Has there ever been a moment when most Torontonians agreed the Gardiner should be removed, if only partially? No politician should ignore such a dramatic shift in public opinion.
The Gardiner, a relic of an earlier age, dates from a time when the car was king. Today, the world is a different place. No question cars are here to stay, but in the decades since the Gardiner was constructed, we have learned that city-building is about more than taming traffic congestion. Successful cities manage to balance the two — cars and people — without sacrificing one on the altar of the other. […]