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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 10 page 20


Barring legal delays or eleventh-hour design changes, work on the Hybrid will proceed in 2019-2020, in the nick of time to prevent structural collapse. Development of the Keating Precinct will proceed, altho on a smaller scale and with less joie de vivre since Lake Shore Blvd will remain entangled with the Gardiner.

“Sooner or later that thing is coming down,” Mihevc raged at council, waxing prophetic in the face of defeat. “Some mayor, some council, will have the guts to do it.”

He was right, council’s decision was gutless.

Congestion is not something that mysteriously befalls innocent drivers, like some web that drops from the sky. Congestion is caused by cars. Or more exactly, by too many people driving cars in the same place at the same time. The city should be taking steps that force conversion to transit and carpooling. We saw that hard-nosed approach succeed during the recent Pan Am games.

Demolishing the Gardiner East would not only have taken some space away from cars but it would also have sent a signal that the city intends to reduce car dependence and all its collateral damage including sprawl, emissions, paving the earth, draining salt into the lake, not to mention running people over. If and when electric, self-driving cars arrive, let them have less roadway to do their platooning on.

The current and foreseeable planetary environmental situation demands compact, energy-saving cities. We do not have a hundred years to play with on this matter. Let there be less reason for people to drive. All those arteries with strip malls and bungalows, they’ve got to get built up to look more like the spines of real neighborhoods. Those tracts of single detached homes need to become townhouses with interspersed stores and services. The suburbs have to develop to the point where they can support rapid transit instead of being a money-drain and where folks have options to walk or cycle to work or school or shop.

You know what that means. The latté élite will have the last laugh. The burbs will get more cafés.