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ActiveTO returns and Toronto green lights a ‘Complete Streets’ pilot project on Yonge Street

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The City of Toronto Infrastructure and Environment Committee today approved a staff report on ActiveTO recommending the return of Major Weekend Road Closures as well as a complete streets pilot project along a section of Yonge Street to support the local economy and CaféTO with an expansion of the temporary ActiveTO cycling network.

The complete street transformation pilot project is similar to the one that took place on Danforth Avenue last summer and it is going to be planned for midtown Yonge Street, between Bloor Street and Davisville Avenue.

The “Complete streets” concept focuses on designing a street to be safe for all users: people who walk, bicycle, take transit or drive, and people of varying ages and levels of ability. Other major considerations are things like sidewalk cafés, street furniture, street trees, utilities, and stormwater management. Creating complete walkable communities where everyone can thrive is a centre-point of the plan.

The report, which will now be considered by Toronto City Council starting on Wednesday, April 7 identifies key findings and outcomes from the 2020 ActiveTO program.

ActiveTO was introduced in May 2020 as a quick-start COVID-19 response program. It was designed 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.

As detailed in the report, City staff are recommending that Major Weekend Road Closures return in 2021. The dates and locations of closures would be determined in the coming months, subject to the coordination of construction impacts, input from local councillors, and the future resumption of large-scale special events. Last year, weekend road closures typically occurred on parts of Lake Shore Boulevard and Bayview Avenue, and took place on 25 consecutive weekends from May through October. A portion of downtown Yonge Street was also closed for two Sundays in September as part of the program.

“ActiveTO was a success in 2020 and we are working to make sure it is a success again in 2021. I support the Infrastructure and Environment Committee’s request for more information on how we can expand ActiveTO this year. I look forward to the Council debate and moving ahead with ActiveTO as soon as the weather allows this spring,” said Mayor John Tory.

The committee approved asking Transportation Services to investigate in consultation with local Councillors and report directly to the upcoming City Council meeting on:

  1. opportunities to accommodate Lake Shore Boulevard West ActiveTO partial or full closures on select weekends or consider alternate ActiveTO installations, similar to Bayview Avenue
  2. opportunities for additional ActiveTO locations, including on the Exhibition Place grounds
  3. opportunities to accelerate traffic-calming in local neighbourhoods through the refocused efforts mentioned in the report, and creating enhanced Quiet Streets, based on lessons learned in 2020, as well as opportunities for a Quiet Neighbourhoods approach where appropriate.

The staff report includes a recommendation for the ActiveTO temporary cycling network program to be expanded along midtown Yonge Street, between Bloor Street and Davisville Avenue as part of a complete street pilot project subject to further review of the potential impact to surface transit operations as part of the detailed design process.

The committee voted to ask Transportation Services to work with the Toronto Transit Commission to identify any potential impacts to transit customers using shuttle buses during TTC closures, the Automatic Train Control rollout and the proposed Yonge midtown complete street pilot, with attention paid to Yonge Street north of St Clair Avenue, and to report directly to Council on opportunities to mitigate the impact on transit customers.

The full ActiveTO report is available online.

More about ActiveTO is available on toronto.ca.

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