quiet streets sign

Toronto to create ‘quiet streets’ by closing parts of Lakeshore and other areas to vehicles

The city will start providing more space for people to be physically active and improve physical distancing as part of Toronto’s recovery process in the wake of COVID-19.

On Thursday, Mayor John Tory announced that the ActiveTO program is launching with 57 kilometres of “quiet streets” as well as major road closures over Victoria Day weekend.

Traffic calming measures, such as signage and temporary barricades, will be put in place at intersections on specific neighbourhood streets across the city to encourage slow, local vehicle access — these roadways will essentially be shared spaces for all, including pedestrians, runners and cyclists.

Tory says that parking and drop-off areas won’t be impacted, and city services, such as waste collection and emergency access, will continue as normal.

“ActiveTO is about making sure people have space to get outside during this phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, have space to get around while respecting physical distancing, and — when it comes to the larger bike lane projects — that we have a safety valve when it comes to the TTC,” Tory said in a news release, highlighting that this is a common-sense approach for areas of bike and pedestrian congestion.

The first quiet streets locations being installed, as of Thursday, include:

  • Kensington Market (an area that borders Nassau Avenue, Spadina Avenue, Augusta Avenue and Dundas Street West)
  • Shaughnessy Boulevard between Van Horne Avenue and Havenbrook Boulevard
  • Havenbrook Boulevard between Shaughnessy Boulevard and Manorpark Court

Although some believe ActiveTO is a good start, social media response to the plan has been, so far, somewhat mixed:

The City will also close some major roads next to trails to make space for people and alleviate weekend and holiday crowding. This will happen on a trial basis and staff will be monitoring nearby routes with real-time data and adjust as necessary.

Sections along major roads in Toronto will be closed Victoria Day long weekend from Saturday, May 16 at 6 a.m. until Monday, May 18 at 11 p.m., including:

  • All eastbound lanes on Lake Shore Boulevard West between Windermere Avenue to Stadium Road
  • Bayview Avenue from Mill Street to Rosedale Valley Road
  • River Street from Gerrard Street East to Bayview Avenue

Click here for more information on ActiveTO and here for further information on the list of quiet streets. The list will be updated when locations are added.

Article exclusive to TRNTO