Mount Pleasant Road is set to become the latest Toronto street to become more pedestrian friendly as the city adjusts its infrastructure on the fly to accommodate social distancing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Councillor Josh Matlow announced the measure Monday on his social media accounts.
“I’m so happy to let you know that we secured approval for more pedestrian space on both sides of Mt. Pleasant Rd, between Merton St. and Moore Ave,” wrote Matlow on Twitter and Facebook. “The approval came Thursday, so it’ll take several days to have it implemented – but I wanted to share the news with everyone!”
Matlow later posted a photo taken on Mount Pleasant Road, just south of Merton Street, that he said highlights the need for more pedestrian space at this time.
“Along with everyone else’s safety, this is who we’re widening the pedestrian space for during the pandemic,” wrote Matlow. “For this person to have 6 feet of space, she or another person passing her would have to go into a live lane of traffic.”
On Mount Pleasant, just south of Merton- Along with everyone else’s safety, this is who we’re widening the pedestrian space for during the pandemic. For this person to have 6 feet of space, she or another person passing her would have to go into a live lane of traffic. pic.twitter.com/T0u3spdlcP
— Josh Matlow (@JoshMatlow) June 2, 2020
The area stretches past the gates to the Mount Pleasant Cemetery, which has been a popular green space for locals in the area.
The move comes as cities around the world grapple with how to maintain social distancing as stay-at-home recommendations or restrictions are lifted and people start to once again venture into the outside world.
On May 6, Toronto Mayor John Tory announced ActiveTO, a program being developed by Toronto Public Health and Transportation Services to provide more space for pedestrians, cyclists and transit riders to allow for better physical distancing during the city’s restart and recovery.
“Our streets are going to look different in many places in the post-COVID world. We will need more road space for walking. We will need quiet streets. We will need more bike infrastructure,” said Tory. “We are going about this in a responsible, common sense way with Toronto Public Health, Transportation Services and local councillors all involved in making common sense, health-focused decisions which broaden out our transportation network.”
Measures taken thus far as part of ActiveTO include the implementation of over 50 km of “Quiet Streets,” which restrict vehicle access on certain streets to local traffic only through the installation of temporary barricades and signage, as well as the closure of some major roads on the weekends.
Another measure taken as part of ActiveTO is the expansion of the city’s cycling network, with several ActiveTO cycling projects approved at city council on May 28. This expansion will add 25 km to the city’s cycling network and includes cycle tracks on Bloor Street from Avenue Road to Sherbourne Street, and on Danforth Avenue from Broadview Avenue to Dawes Road. This expansion is considered temporary and will be reviewed by council at a later date.