The City of Toronto today announced the July schedule for ActiveTO major weekend road closures. In addition, it released new data from weekend closures from the spring that supports the City’s approach to careful planning for where and when closures can be in place.
The ActiveTO July weekend schedule ensures that weekend closures are available to more people in more places across the city, allowing them to spend time outside and be active. A minimum of four ActiveTO locations are expected to be available each weekend during the month. These road closures will complement Toronto’s parks (more than 1,500) and 11,000 hectares of ravines that are open every day for fresh air and physical activity.
The July schedule details a plan that includes new locations such as roads within Exhibition Place, a portion of Black Creek Drive (between Trethewey Drive and Lawrence Avenue), and the introduction of The Meadoway in Scarborough as an ActiveTO route. This was achieved by planning for additional signage at each pedestrian and cyclist crosswalk that intersects the corridor between Brimley Road and Scarborough Golf Club Road.
The Lake Shore Boulevard West ActiveTO route is more flexible than before, so that it can be delivered on most weekends in July while working to reduce impacts on the local community as well as transit service. Lake Shore West will be closed from Windermere Avenue to Stadium Road on long weekends, including this coming one, and from Jameson Avenue to Stadium Road on each of the other available weekends. Adjusting the route on some weekends will provide valuable insight to inform the rest of the summer schedule, better balance the needs of the local communities that surround the vehicle closure, and help manage traffic impacts that result from this closure in combination with effects from local construction projects.
A vehicle closure of the eastbound lanes on Lake Shore Boulevard East (from Leslie Street to Woodbine Avenue), as well as roads in High Park is expected to make more safe space available for people every weekend in July. A full vehicle closure of Bayview Avenue (between Front Street East to Rosedale Valley Road, and River Street between Bayview Avenue and Spruce Street) is currently planned on three weekends during the month.
City transportation professionals have analyzed data from spring closures including pedestrian and cycling counts, as well as traffic impacts and patterns to inform planning. ActiveTO staff also listened to residents from the local communities and anticipated planned summer construction to help develop the July schedule.
While the data demonstrates that the routes have been both popular and successful for those who use them, it also demonstrates why the City’s commitment to taking a careful approach to closure locations and timing has been both important and necessary.
Counts were taken on Lake Shore Boulevard West, when ActiveTO weekend closures were in place this year (May 15 and 16, and May 22 and 23), and showed a range of people cycling, between approximately 16,700 to 34,000, and between approximately 2,800 to 5,000 pedestrians (measured over 15 hours counted at Lake Shore Boulevard West and Ontario Drive).
When measured against weekends with no closures in place on Lake Shore Boulevard West, the data clearly demonstrates how popular the space is for people who use it. The data also shows, however, that there are significant traffic impacts on the surrounding community when the closure is installed.
On weekends with no closures along Lake Shore Boulevard West, the number of people cycling ranged from approximately 4,600 to 10,800, and the number of pedestrians ranged from approximately 3,400 to 5,300 on the adjacent trail. Traffic volumes on the road, on days without closures in place, ranged from approximately 15,500 to 24,200 (both directions measured at Lake Shore Boulevard West and Ontario Drive). This also shows that more people use Lake Shore Boulevard West to bike or go for a walk or run when the closures are in place when compared to motor vehicle volumes when closures are not in place.
When the Lake Shore Boulevard West ActiveTO closure was in place, traffic data on the Gardiner Expressway and The Queensway showed travel times up to two and three times longer when measured against conditions with no ActiveTO closure on Lake Shore Boulevard West and with lockdown periods being observed.
During ActiveTO on Lake Shore Boulevard East, pedestrian and cycling counts (eastbound lanes between Leslie Street and Woodbine Avenue) have ranged from approximately 5,800 to 12,700 people cycling and approximately 7,800 to 15,700 pedestrians.
On June 5, when the closure on Allen Road was in place, the City counted approximately 5,500 people cycling and 1,100 people walking on the northbound lanes between Eglinton Avenue West and Lawrence Avenue. There were minimal impacts to vehicle travel time in the surrounding area when ActiveTO was in place.
Counts on Bayview Avenue, between Front Street East and Rosedale Valley Road, have ranged from approximately 3,000 to 5,600 cyclists and approximately 1,100 to 1,400 pedestrians on weekends when a full vehicle closure has been in place. Following the installation of the new full-time, multi-use trail infrastructure and alignment along Bayview Avenue, which will remain in place every day for people to use, City staff responded to significant community feedback requesting the ActiveTO full weekend vehicle closure of Bayview Avenue return on as many weekends as possible.
The expected ActiveTO weekend schedule for July is below. Dates and times are subject to change based on impacts from other non-ActiveTO road closures, nearby construction, weather, and availability of City resources:
Saturday, July 3 and Sunday, July 4
Saturday, July 10 and Sunday, July 11
*Gardiner Expressway maintenance weekend
Saturday, July 17 and Sunday, July 18
Saturday, July 24 and Sunday, July 25
Saturday, July 31 and Sunday, August 1
Residents planning to use ActiveTO routes, including High Park and The Meadoway, are asked to access them by bike or on foot due to limited nearby parking and no available on-site parking. City staff actively monitor traffic congestion around ActiveTO closures to help keep vehicles moving and people safe. Drivers are reminded to plan their trips in advance to avoid all vehicle closures, if possible, and should consider using a wayfinding app to understand detours and travel times.
ActiveTO was designed in response to COVID-19 to provide more space for people to practise physical distancing while outside, support the overall wellbeing of residents and to quickly connect and expand Toronto’s cycling network by installing safe, separated temporary bike routes that mirror major transit lines.
Learn more about ActiveTO weekend road closures, including the cycling network expansion, at www.toronto.ca/ActiveTO.
Bike Share Toronto stations are available along ActiveTO routes. Download the PBSC app to get started.
Read details about access to High Park.
Check maps and details for available paths and trails.
Learn more about cycling in Toronto at www.toronto.ca/cycling.
“ActiveTO continues to be a popular and successful program that supports Toronto’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The July schedule clearly shows how determined we are to come through on our promise to provide more space to more people, at locations around our city on weekends, and to keep flexible and enjoyable routes. The data shows that staff have delivered ActiveTO weekends in a responsible way that considers the need for people to have safe outdoor space to exercise. It also reinforces that we must carefully listen to and respond to the impacts to the local communities when closures are in place. I encourage all residents to take advantage of the many and varied ActiveTO locations that will be available throughout July and I look forward to seeing what’s in store for August.”
– Mayor John Tory
“ActiveTO is expanding to include more communities in our city. Beginning in July, The Meadoway, a 16-kilometre stretch of urban greenspace and meadowlands in Scarborough, will become part of ActiveTO each weekend. Thank you to City staff for including The Meadoway, so residents can safely get outside and stay active, while exploring Scarborough.”
– Councillor Jennifer McKelvie (Scarborough-Rough Park), Chair of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee
“ActiveTO was designed to support public health direction and give people in Toronto more space to safely be outside and to physically distance while exercising. Our staff in Transportation Services responded to the challenge to find a creative way to use roads differently in response to the pandemic. Staff have taken a careful and flexible approach to delivering and expanding these routes for people across the city. I would like to thank members of City Council and Mayor John Tory for their support and enthusiasm for the program, as well as residents for helping to make this program as successful, and as well-liked, as it has been.”
– Barbara Gray, General Manager of Transportation Services, City of Toronto
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