On October 29, 2002, Councillor Jane Pitfield and internationally renowned urbanist Jane Jacobs unveiled the Toronto Pedestrian Charter at City Council. The Charter sets out six principles necessary to ensure that walking is a safe and convenient mode of urban travel.
Walking is a free and direct means of accessing local goods, services, community amenities and public transit.
Walking is the only mode of travel that is universally affordable, and allows children and youth, and people with specific medical conditions to travel independently.
Health and Well-being
Walking is a proven method of promoting personal health and well-being.
Walking relies on human power and has negligible environmental impact.
Personal and Community Safety
An environment in which people feel safe and comfortable walking increases community safety for all.
Community Cohesion and Vitality
A pedestrian-friendly environment encourages and facilitates social interaction and local economic vitality.
The Toronto Pedestrian Charter is an initiative that came from residents who serve their city on the Toronto Pedestrian Committee. The Charter reflects the principle that a city's walkability is one of the most important measures of the quality of its public realm, and of its health and vitality.
This is the first pedestrian charter in North America, and the first approved by a municipality anywhere. So this is an historic first that we hope will set an example for other municipalities across the country, the continent and around the world.
In approving the development of the Charter in 2000, The City intended:
- to outline what pedestrians have a right to expect from the City in terms of meeting their travel needs;
- to establish principles to guide the development of all policies and practices that affect pedestrians; and
- to identify the features of an urban environment and infrastructure that will encourage and support walking.
Most important, the Charter was intended to serve as a reminder to decision-makers, both in the City and in the community at large, that walking should be valued as the most sustainable of all forms of travel, and that it has enormous social, environmental and economic benefits for the city.