Beginning late July 2016, the City of Toronto will be preparing for the construction of a new off-ramp from the eastbound Gardiner Expressway to Lower Simcoe Street. This project will also include the removal of the York-Bay-Yonge off-ramp as well as improvements to Harbour Street. Construction of the off ramp is expected to begin the week of July 25, 2016 and continue until January 2018.
A new ramp to Lower Simcoe Street and improvements to Harbour Street will:
- continue to accommodate high volumes of traffic flow between the Gardiner Expressway, the downtown core and the waterfront
- create an enhanced public realm for the increasing number of pedestrians and cyclists living and working in the area
- improve public safety by including well-signalized, well-lit intersections and better signage for all users
- create new park space (within York Street ramp site) to help revitalize waterfront lands
An Environmental Assessment study was completed in 2013 recommending the reconfiguration of the eastbound off-ramp from the F.G. Gardiner Expressway to York, Bay and Yonge Streets.The City is now moving forward with the reconfiguration.
The study recommended the removal of the existing long elevated ramp that leads from the F.G. Gardiner Expressway to Bay Street and removing the ramp at York Street. They will be replaced with a shorter, wider ramp to Harbour Street at Lower Simcoe Street. A new park will be created at York Street following the looped ramp removal that will further enhance the waterfront area.
Harbour Street will be widened from three to four lanes from Lower Simcoe Street to Bay Street. Streetscape improvements will be made along Harbour Street and will include the addition of sidewalks decorative pavers and planters.
The study was completed in a manner that best addressed the Central Waterfront Secondary Plan, the first principle of which is to remove barriers and reconnect the City with Lake Ontario. Other policies of the Plan explain that Waterfront streets are to be remade as “places” with high quality amenities for pedestrians and cyclists, and that parks are to be designated to enrich waterfront communities.