For both The Esplanade and Mill Street, bi-directional cycle tracks are proposed. They allow cycling in both directions on one side of the road. They are attractive to a wide range of people at all levels and ages, and connect to other bi-directional trails to the east. They would encourage people cycling to use the cycling facilities on the road instead of the promenade. The protected bike lane would run on the north side of Parliament Square Park through the southern edge of the parking lot. The protected bike lanes would connect to existing bikeways on Bayview Avenue, Cherry Street, Lower Sherbourne Street and Yonge Street. Changes to intersections are also being proposed to enhance the safety of vulnerable road users.
To learn more what’s being proposed on The Esplanade, Parliament Square Park and Mill Street, watch the following video.
The following changes are being proposed for The Esplanade:
To find out more about the proposed road safety upgrades to The Esplanade, watch the following video.
The existing path through Parliament Square Park is too narrow to accommodate the existing number of people walking and cycling. A bikeway is proposed through the parking lot just to the north of the Park. This would provide separate space for people walking and cycling, creating a safer and more desirable experience for all users.
To find out more about the proposed upgrades north of Parliament Square Park, watch the following video.
The following changes are being proposed for Mill Street:
To find out more about the proposed road safety upgrades to Mill Street, watch the following video.
The proposed design includes:
In pre-COVID-19 traffic conditions, the TTC bus routes that run along The Esplanade and Mill Street serve thousands of passengers each day. The many seniors who live in the area, and who may have limited ability to walk long distances, rely on the bus for basic mobility. Due largely to cut-through traffic, the bus can be caught in traffic, reducing its reliability and desirability as a way of getting to and from destinations. The project proposes restricting traffic to certain blocks along The Esplanade to preserve bus movements. This would reduce non-local motor vehicle traffic and reduce congestion that slows the bus.
The proposed changes on The Esplanade and Mill Street would prioritize local access and reduce non-local cut-through traffic for people driving. Some blocks on The Esplanade would be dedicated for transit only. Some blocks on both streets would be converted to one-way streets to accommodate the bikeway and transit operations within a narrowed street.
These changes are proposed to reduce or eliminate cut-through traffic, while preserving access by vehicle for local residents, visitors and businesses.
Various tools would be used to communicate the changes to local residents and visitors as outlined below.
To accommodate the cycle track, parking would be reduced to one side on some blocks and removed all together from other blocks. The number of paid, on-street parking spaces would be reduced to approximately 60 spaces, with 10 spaces available on The Esplanade and 50 spaces available on Mill Street.
Other curbside uses such as accessible loading, commercial loading, pick-up and drop-off, as well as short term parking spaces, would be prioritized over paid parking, based on local stakeholder feedback. There are currently over 5,400 nearby spaces in off-street paid parking lots. The Toronto Parking Authority is proposing to designate 38 new paid on-street spaces on Frederick Street between Front Street East and The Esplanade, and Scadding Avenue, between Princess Street and Hahn Place.
Permit parking areas 6H, 6K and 6N would remain at or below capacity. There would be no change to Area 7C. Ten (10) new permit parking spaces would be added to Front Street East between Trinity Street and Cherry Street.
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All accessible loading zones would be maintained or shifted slightly. An additional accessible loading zone is proposed on the north side of The Esplanade between Princess Street and Berkeley Street to replace accessible parking spaces. These accessible parking spaces were initially added to support accessible loading to and from Market Lane School. Wheel Trans vehicles would continue to be able to serve all addresses.
The new bikeway and associated changes along The Esplanade and Mill St between Lower Sherbourne Street and Bayview Avenue is proposed to be installed in 2021. This would provide a physically separated, east-west cycling route for people cycling between the Downtown and Waterfront neighbourhoods. This connection is proposed to be permanent, but is timed, in part, to act as a cycling route in lieu of the closure of the Lower Sherbourne Street bikeway underpass starting in 2022 (due to planned Metrolinx work), and the Lower Don Trail closure from 2022 to 2023 (due to planned Waterfront Toronto work).
In 2022, the bikeway would extend west from Lower Sherbourne Street to Yonge Street. Construction would commence as soon as the temporary St. Lawrence Market tent is removed, south of The Esplanade, as the Farmers Market activities move to the new North Market Building. The block between Church Street and Scott Street would be implemented along with a planned resurfacing of this block of The Esplanade.