The recent spate of concrete falling from the Gardiner has re-invigorated the debate about tearing it down, an option I have long supported. As expected there is a ton of fear over traffic congestion and commute times,but as is often the case these fears are largely unfounded. The tearing down of elevated inner city expressways is not uncharted territory, several major US cities have done just that with positive results Boston, New York, San Francisco and Milwaukee have done so, in fact Milwaukee tore theirs down because like the Gardiner the costs of restoring the structure were prohibitive.
The transition will be a painful one as any Bostonian can tell you but in the end worth every ounce of frustration and inconvenience. Yes the monstrous developments that blight the waterfront will remain but as San Francisco discovered, despite their presence, the waterfront can be made over into a people place used by every mode of transportation from pedestrians to yes drivers.
This video shows us what tearing down the Gardiner could accomplish, more green and people places, mass transit, roadways, increased space for pedestrians and cyclists. The have also seen a growth in the number of businesses opening up to serve this new wave of potential costumers, property values skyrocketed, in fact the selling of this newly valuable land actually paid for one project and even generated a surplus.