After much consideration and a very thorough two-day long debate, City Council voted in favour of moving forward with the proposed "hybrid" option for the future of the Gardiner Expressway. I voted in favour of the hybrid option alongside 23 of my Council colleagues.
Traffic congestion is the #1 concern of residents in Ward 6, and all over the City, and my choice of the hybrid option was made with this in mind. Removing the east end of the Gardiner Expressway as well as the connection to the DVP and forcing cars onto local roads does not alleviate traffic congestion.
It is, in my opinion, irresponsible to remove this connection until we have the transit in place to ease the resulting congestion. When I spoke during the Council debate I described the transit situation in Ward 6 as "horrific." Those of you who use the TTC regularly know exactly what I mean. Over the past 12 years I have worked alongside the TTC to improve transit in Ward 6 but it is an uphill battle. We have achieved progress through the introduction of the 145 Express Bus, by increasing the frequency of bus routes that run through Etobicoke-Lakeshore and I constantly work alongside staff to resolve the various challenges facing the streetcar. I am now seeking further improvements through my Motion 11 Petition.
This was by no means an easy decision. The fate of the Gardiner Expressway is an incredibly complicated issue and the various options required significant deliberation. Some people were critical of my refusal to make up my mind and announce my position before the Council debate started, but I do not mail in my vote. When I vote on behalf of Ward 6 and the people of Toronto, I rely on: the debate at Council and the perspectives brought forth by my colleagues; I rely on the findings determined by staff reports; and I also rely on you, my fellow residents, to share your own experiences and opinions. It is for these reasons that I enter debates with an open mind, carrying with me the perspectives shared by you and your neighbours in order to best represent your needs. We may not always agree, but know that I truly value your opinions.