Example of a bi-directional cycle track.

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.

 

A rendering of the proposed changes on The Esplanade.

The following changes are being proposed for The Esplanade:

  • Bi-directional cycle tracks would be added to the south side The Esplanade.
  • Safety enhancements would be added to all intersections, such as renewed pavement markings, prohibited vehicle turns, and signal timing that separates the movements of vulnerable road users from vehicles.
  • The speed limit would be reduced from 40km/h to 30km/h.
  • The Esplanade would be converted to one-way westbound from Church Street to Scott Street, from Jarvis Street to Market Street, and from Princess Street to Berkeley Street.
  • The Esplanade would be converted to one-way eastbound from George Street to Frederick Street.
  • Through traffic in both directions between Sherbourne Street and Princess Street would be prohibited.
  • George Street between The Esplanade and Wilton Street would be made one-way southbound to prevent Wilton Street from becoming a bypass and to reduce traffic near St. Michael School.
  • The north half of Farquhars Lane would be made one way northbound to reduce local traffic infiltration and the traffic volume across the busy Front St sidewalk.
  • Otherwise, intersecting streets would not be changed.

To find out more about the proposed road safety upgrades to The Esplanade, watch the following video.

Summary of Proposed Upgrades on The Esplanade

Proposed changes on The Esplanade.

Proposed changes to Parliament Square Park.

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:

  • A new south-side bi-directional cycle track would be added to the whole Mill Street corridor, and one block on Bayview Avenue, up to Front Street East.
  • Mill Street would be converted to one-way westbound between Cherry Street and Parliament Street and between Bayview Avenue and Tannery Road.
  • Bayview Avenue would be converted to one-way southbound between Front Street East and Mill Street.
  • Curbside activity would be accommodated on one side for most blocks.

To find out more about the proposed road safety upgrades to Mill Street, watch the following video.

Summary of Proposed Upgrades on Mill Street

Map of proposed changes on Mill Street.

The proposed design includes:

  • Enhancing intersection markings to make people walking more visible while crossing.
  • Dedicating green signal time at intersections either as a pedestrian head start or crossings just for people walking and cycling.
  • Ensuring the promenade in David Crombie Park and the path in Parliament Square Park are prioritized for people walking by providing an attractive, parallel bikeway.
  • Providing a bikeway on Mill Street to encourage people cycling to bypass the interior of the pedestrian-oriented Distillery District.
  • Raising the pedestrian crossings at Berkeley Street, Princess Street, George Street, and Frederick Street through the David Crombie Park Revitalization (2024 and beyond).

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.

Proposed changes to TTC bus routes.

 

Summary of Proposed Changes to Transit

TTC 121 Fort York-Esplanade

  • Eastbound service between Scott Street and Church Street would be relocated to Front Street East.
  • Eastbound service between Princess Street and Berkeley Street would be relocated to Front Street East.
  • Some stops in both directions would be relocated or removed to improve spacing and reliability and serve the adjusted route.

TTC 75 Sherbourne

  • No change to routing.
  • Removal of the stop between George Street and Frederick Street.

TTC 65 Parliament

  • Reversal of the loop, to run south on Berkeley Street, west on The Esplanade, north on Princess Street, and east on Front Street East.
  • Relocation of stops along the loop to serve the new direction.

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.

tools that would be employed to communicate changes on The Esplanade and Mill Street

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.

Area Spaces Today Proposed Spaces Utilization Today New Spaces Proposed Utilization Proposed
6K 176 157 66% 0 74%
6H 123 110 84% 0 96%
6N 40 30 100% 10 100%

 

Wheel Trans vehicle loading on The Esplanade.

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.

Implementation timeline for the Improving The Esplanade and Mill Street project.