Today, Mayor John Tory announced the ActiveTO program developed by Toronto Public Health and Transportation Services will start to be rolled out across the city to provide more space for people to be physically active and improve physical distancing as part of the City’s restart and recovery in the wake of COVID-19.
The City is installing 57 kilometres of Quiet Streets across Toronto. These are neighbourhood streets where traffic calming measures, such as signage and temporary barricades, will be put in place at intersections to encourage slow, local vehicle access only so that the roadway can be a shared space that also welcomes people who walk, run and bike. Parking and drop off areas will not be impacted, and City services, such as waste collection and emergency access, will continue as normal.
The first Quiet Streets locations being installed today include:
• Kensington Market (area that borders Nassau Avenue, Spadina Avenue, Augusta Avenue and Dundas Street West)
• Shaughnessy Boulevard between Van Horne Avenue and Havenbrook Boulevard
• Havenbrook Boulevard between Shaughnessy Boulevard and Manorpark Court
The list of current and planned Quiet Streets is available at toronto.ca/activeTO and will be updated when locations are added.
Transportation Services staff and Toronto Public Health have also recommended closing some major roads adjacent to trails to make space for people, alleviate weekend and holiday crowding, and ensure there is room to be physically active and support physical distancing. This will happen on a trial basis and staff will be monitoring nearby routes with real-time data and adjust as necessary.
Sections along major roads in Toronto will be fully closed this Victoria Day long weekend from Saturday, May 16 at 6 a.m. until Monday, May 18 at 11 p.m. including:
• All eastbound lanes on Lake Shore Boulevard West between Windermere Avenue to Stadium Road
• Bayview Avenue from Mill Street to Rosedale Valley Road
• River Street from Gerrard Street East to Bayview Avenue
Future weekend closures, that are not on a long weekend, will begin at 6 a.m. on Saturdays until 11 p.m. on Sundays. Locations will be announced as they are finalized.
As warmer weather approaches, it’s expected that residents will want to be outside more often. The important advice of Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, over the past several weeks has helped slow the spread of COVID-19 within the community. It has protected the health of Toronto residents and saved lives.
Making additional space, as direction continues to evolve from “stay home” to “practise physical distancing when outside for essentials or exercise,” is a consistent and timely approach that will help keep Toronto residents healthier.
Right now, vehicle and pedestrian traffic are at an all-time low, and bike traffic has declined only slightly in certain downtown locations. During the City Council meeting on April 30, in anticipation of changes in traffic patterns in the coming weeks and months, the Mayor and Council requested that City staff look at more active transportation as a crucial part of the restart and recovery.
While the City of Toronto remains focused on fighting COVID-19 and continuing to provide the essential and critical services that residents and businesses rely on, the City is also looking ahead to the restart and recovery period. Like other municipalities, the City of Toronto is working to protect livelihoods while also protecting lives in a post-COVID world.
Work and planning continue on cycling network expansion and Council-approved cycling project acceleration. Details on this as part of ActiveTO will be provided in the coming weeks.
Learn more about ActiveTO at toronto.ca/activeTO.
Toronto’s CurbTO program continues to be rolled out to immediately address places where there is sidewalk crowding and temporary parking concerns around essential businesses. More businesses are permitted to offer pick-up, take-out and delivery services and have created store access line-ups to maintain physical distancing requirements, as recommended by Toronto Public Health.
So far, 30 pedestrian zones and 17 temporary parking pickup zones have been installed around Toronto, with additional zones to be installed this week. It’s expected that more than 100 zones will eventually be put in place. Asphalt curb ramps have been positioned at various locations to support accessibility.
Businesses can apply and learn more about eligibility criteria and program guidelines at toronto.ca/covid19BusinessTO.
“ActiveTO is about making sure people have space to get outside during this phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, have space to get around while respecting physical distancing, and – when it comes to the larger bike lane projects – that we have a safety valve when it comes to the TTC. Today, we are moving ahead with creating more than 50 kilometres of Quiet Streets across the city and starting this weekend we will be closing some major roads near popular recreation trails and areas. All of this represents both a quick start and a common sense approach to respond to areas where there is bike and pedestrian congestion right now.”
– Mayor John Tory
“Supporting active transportation will be an important part of our city’s restart and recovery planning. Traffic has never before been this low and it’s important we look at how we use all the space we have to aid in keeping people safe and healthy, and helping to get our essential workers to where they need to go. This initiative will also help lay the groundwork for our next generation of micromobility and future bike share expansion.”
– Councillor James Pasternak (Ward 6 York Centre), Chair of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee
“Kensington Market is the perfect place to launch ActiveTO’s Quiet Streets. As we re-open the vibrant businesses there, it’s critical we keep people safe by being able to maintain physical distance and make space for pedestrians and local residents. This approach will help give pedestrians more space, while allowing the market to continue to serve our community and city.”
– Councillor Mike Layton, Ward 11 University-Rosedale
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