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.
As part of our #ActiveTO plan – to make sure people have space to get outside while respecting physical distancing – we are moving ahead with creating 57 kilometres of Quiet Streets across the city and we will be closing two major roads near popular recreation trails and areas. pic.twitter.com/kmRO3czqRR
— John Tory (@JohnTory) May 14, 2020
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.
Some of #ActiveTO‘s first Quiet Streets were set up today in #KensingtonMarket. Barriers were set up using concrete, barrels, and existing gates. Signs were set up showing how to use a #bikeTO for physical distancing and also that the streets were for people on foot, bike & cars. pic.twitter.com/L1PXeSkO7x
— Cycle Toronto (@CycleToronto) May 14, 2020
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:
#activeto is a bad joke. came back from getting groceries, cars are ignoring the signs completely and driving all but on top of pedestrians. nearly run over once, and honked at furiously two other times. no one can safely use the street and distance. shame on @JohnTory
— ibhattac (@ibhattac) May 15, 2020
— T.J. Goertz (@TJGoertz) May 15, 2020
Anyone else find it strange that one of the densest neighbourhoods in Toronto: Yonge and Eglinton, has no “quiet streets” in the area in today’s announcement?
— Brian (@brianbswizzle) May 15, 2020
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