The first phase of implementation work for the Council-approved High Park Movement Strategy began in August 2023. The initial changes focused on improving road user safety and providing dedicated, car-free routes at all times within High Park.
The High Park Movement Strategy was launched in 2021 to rethink the travel network serving High Park in the context of the city’s growing population, changing travel patterns, and the impacts of COVID-19. The goal of the study is to improve mobility within the park, while prioritizing safety, accessibility and the park’s ecological integrity.
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This process is being supported by ongoing engagement with community and stakeholder groups.
The timeline is subject to change.
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Beginning on Saturday, August 5, 2023, there will be a number of improvements to the travel network in High Park.
The High Park Movement Strategy will be implemented in phases starting in summer 2023.
Phase 1 will implement permanent car-free routes on West Road and portions of Colborne Lodge Drive. These changes will be supported by new pavement markings and temporary traffic control measures such as bollards and signage.
Subsequent improvements will include permanent changes to physical infrastructure such as widened sidewalks and dedicated cycling infrastructure. These changes will require detailed design work, costing, and funding approval. Infrastructure improvements will align with environmental policies that protect High Park’s ecological integrity.
Proposed changes will be communicated to park users before implementation, with additional community engagement as design work is undertaken.
In May 2023, City Council adopted the recommendations in the High Park Movement Strategy final report (IE3.7) with amendments and directed staff to continue car-free days on Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays.
The Infrastructure and Environment Committee adopted the recommendations of the High Park Movement Strategy final staff report with amendments.
An in-person public open house was held on April 3, 2023 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. to share information about the study process and the preferred strategy. The open house was a drop-in format where attendees could review a series of information boards and background materials including the existing conditions reports. Project staff were available to answer questions, support discussion between participants and collect feedback. The preferred strategy was described through text, maps and conceptual renderings.
Approximately 280 attendees came to the open house and represented a wide variety of interests. An open house summary is being prepared and will be posted online.
Download the open house summary report.
Download the information boards:
A meeting was held on February 2, 2023 with the External Stakeholder Group including representatives from local businesses, residents associations, sports leagues, environmental and cultural organizations and other interest groups active in High Park. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss possible changes to the travel network and gather feedback on accommodations that could support mobility needs for these groups. Staff continue to consider the merits of all four draft strategies and final recommendations may incorporate elements from one of more of these options.
A public engagement report was prepared to summarize the feedback gathered, the consultation events that were held and the park users who were reached through a series of public engagements in the Summer of 2022. The findings in this report will not be the sole determinant of study outcomes but will help to inform staff recommendations on the development, evaluation and refinement of a preferred strategy and travel network improvements.
A summary report was prepared to present key findings from background analysis, including a park profile and transportation assessment. The findings presented in this summary report will be reviewed and considered alongside feedback collected through the consultation process in order to inform final recommendations on improvements to the travel network in High Park.
A second online survey ran from July 8 to August 19, 2022. This survey gathered input from the public on four possible draft strategies for improving the travel network.
Thank you to everyone who was able to complete the survey, which received over 8000 responses. The project team will analyze these responses and a summary will be shared on the project website. Feedback gathered through this survey will help to inform the evaluation and refinement of a recommended strategy for travel network improvements in High Park.
Staff were on-site to speak with park visitors about the four strategies.
On July 27, 2022, an online public open house was hosted to provide an update on feedback and findings gathered to date, share information about the draft strategies being considered and to answer questions and gather input from park users.
Download the open house presentation.
On May 11, 2022, an Interim Report was presented to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee to provide an update on the ongoing High Park Movement Strategy. The report describes the types of travel network changes that will be explored and evaluated as part of the study and summarizes the study process, including information on existing features and facilities, infrastructure and park usage.
A final report that identifies the preferred improvements to the High Park travel network is planned for early 2023.
On April 13, 2022, the project team hosted a virtual meeting for external stakeholders including representatives from local businesses, residents associations, sports leagues, environmental and cultural organizations and other interest groups active in High Park. This meeting focused on mobility. Preliminary findings from the background analysis were shared and feedback on potential improvements to the travel network was discussed.
On December 9, 2021, the project team hosted an orientation session for external stakeholders including representatives from local Business Improvement Areas, residents associations, sports leagues and other special interest groups active in High Park.
On November 9, 2021, the project team hosted an orientation session for internal partners and stakeholders to share information on the study objectives, processes and timelines and to gather early feedback from staff in other divisions.
A consultant was hired to support the delivery of the High Park Movement Strategy.
From June 30 to October 12, 2021, an online survey ran as part of the first phase of engagement to gather information on people’s experiences traveling to, from and within High Park. The survey prompted respondents to consider how the COVID-19 pandemic may have changed their experiences in visiting the park and their priorities for longer term improvements to the travel network.
The survey received 6,717 responses. The feedback will help shape the objectives, scope and outcomes of the High Park Movement Strategy.
Download the survey snapshot for results.
The City is exploring comprehensive and long-term improvements to the travel network in High Park to better serve park users and the surrounding community. The current weekend and holiday road closures are being evaluated as part of this process.
Four draft strategies were developed to explore different approaches for managing travel within High Park. Each will prioritize safety, accessibility and the park’s natural environment.
Draft Strategies include the following:
Certain conditions will be achieved under all strategies, including implementation of traffic calming measures, improvements to pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, improved transit service, changes to parking, and continued access for authorized vehicles including ambulances and operational vehicles. All strategies would maintain vehicle access to the Children’s Garden and Colborne Lodge via the Queensway and the Spring Road Parking Lot via Parkside Drive.
These draft strategies provide a starting point for further consultation, refinement and evaluation. A final preferred strategy will be developed based on feedback, findings from technical analysis (such as transportation assessments and parking studies), and from established City plans and guidelines (such as VisionZero, Toronto Accessibility Design Guidelines and TransformTO). A preferred strategy may incorporate elements from one or more of the draft strategies.
More information on the four draft strategies is available in Appendix B of the Summer 2022 Public Engagement Report.
High Park is one of Toronto’s largest public parks, combining environmentally sensitive areas with maintained parkland, recreational facilities and popular attractions. As a regional destination connected through a range of travel options, High Park is one of the most visited parks in Toronto.
The High Park Movement Strategy focuses on mobility and the travel network within the park including existing roads, driveways and parking lots. The study evaluated the impacts and benefits of road closures as well as other important mobility matters such as reducing conflicts between road users and encouraging active transportation. The study does not represent a master planning exercise and other important park-related topics such as maintenance and operations, conservation efforts, and land use will continue to be addressed through established plans and policies including the Facilities Master Plan, Parkland Strategy and Ravine Strategy.
A related project, the Parkside Drive Study, is exploring improvements to safety and mobility along Parkside Drive with a focus on vulnerable road users like pedestrians and people cycling. The Council-approved recommendations of the High Park Movement Strategy will be closely coordinated with the Parkside Drive Study and inform potential outcomes.