Toronto’s streets are vital places that should be designed to improve safety and accessibility for all ages and abilities. The City works with consultants, specialists, advocates and people with disabilities to receive feedback on transportation projects and programs, to ensure that they meet the standards for accessible design.

In June 2022, the City conducted a site visit with people with disabilities at York University to receive feedback on recently-added accessibility features to gauge their effectiveness. 

Some key takeaways were: 

  • Participants with low to no vision shared that generally less is more, and that accessible design should communicate only what is essential.
  • All participants highlighted that consistency of design is important for navigation. People with disabilities travel across the city and having consistency enables them to understand and access the public realm.
  • Lighting is essential to ensure safety for all road users, particularly those with disabilities, especially along multi-use trails in their own corridors.
  • Snow clearance on accessibility features must be prioritized to ensure they can be easily detected.  
  • Generally, a beveled (sloped) edge was preferable to at-grade unit pavers or tactile markers to indicate a transition between different types of infrastructure, such as sidewalks and multi-use trails.

Please see the Accessibility Site Visits report for more information.

In August 2023, the City of Toronto’s Transportation Services Division conducted a site visit focused on recent upgrades to Kipling Avenue between Steeles Avenue West and Mount Olive Drive/Panorama Court.

This visit was part of an ongoing effort to gather accessibility focused feedback on new complete street infrastructure. The goal of the Kipling Site Visit was to understand the effectiveness of current designs, particularly for those with mobility and sight loss challenges, and to use this insight for future urban planning and design standards.

Some key takeaways were:

  • The design of the floating bus platform received mixed reviews from participants, with many noting that the placement of the multi use trail between the sidewalk and bus shelter presented numerous orientation
    challenges. It was suggested that signage and indicator poles would aid in orientation and guidance for all road users.
  • In “mixing zone” intersections that are designed to accommodate pedestrians, mobility aid users, people cycling and transit users, the following comments were expressed:
    • A lack of a perpendicular curb ramp between the tactile walking surface indicators received mixed reviews depending on participants’ disabilities, as some wheelchair users noted challenges and safety concerns with mounting the curb, while it was favoured by blind participants as a navigational aid.
    • High contrast pavement markings and symbols are essential to identify where certain road users should be positioned while waiting to cross the intersection, or yield to others.
    • The user friendliness of Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS) was a common theme at several crossings and intersections, with participants noting that the buttons were either difficult to reach for
      wheelchair users or the volume of the tone was too low to hear in a high traffic volume area.

Please see the Kipling Accessibility Site Visit Report report for more information.

The Toronto Accessibility Advisory Committee provides advice to City Council on the elimination of barriers faced by people with disabilities and acts as a liaison with external bodies on barriers to participation in public life and to the achievement of social, cultural and economic well-being of people with disabilities. The committee also provides advice to City Council about the requirements and implementation of accessibility standards and the preparation, implementation and effectiveness of accessibility reports as required by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA).

The following reports from the Committee are related to cycling or pedestrian projects: