TORONTO, ON., May 20, 2020 — If you enjoyed experiencing all the extra space for exercise on Toronto’s roads last weekend, you are sure to be even happier this weekend, as the City will increase road closures to facilitate safer physical distancing while being active.
Mayor John Tory announced today that the City of Toronto will provide residents with more space for physically distancing while getting exercise around town. At the same time this will help slow the spread of COVID-19.
This weekend vehicle access on parts of more major roads will be closed for walking, running, in-line skating and biking. This is great news as Saturday is looking like it is going to be beautifully sunny and 22 degrees celsius.
The following three major road closures are planned this weekend from Saturday, May 23 at 6 a.m. until Sunday, May 24 at 11 p.m.:
• Lake Shore Boulevard West (eastbound lanes only) from Windermere Avenue to Stadium Road. The eastbound Gardiner Expressway off ramp to Lake Shore Boulevard West (exit #146) will also be closed
• Lake Shore Boulevard East (eastbound lanes only) from Coxwell Avenue to just south of Woodbine Avenue (Kew Beach Avenue)
• Bayview Avenue from Mill Street to Rosedale Valley Road,
• River Street from Gerrard Street East to Bayview Avenue.
“What we experienced on Victoria Day long weekend was a quick start and common-sense response to areas where there has typically been bike and pedestrian congestion on weekends as the weather gets warmer,” said Mayor John Tory. “I am pleased people were able to get outdoors and enjoy the space and be active while keeping their distance from others. The vast majority of Toronto residents have been carefully following public health advice during the COVID-19 pandemic and ActiveTO allows people to enjoy some much-needed time outdoors.”
The City will actively manage traffic during these closures through signal timing adjustments on adjacent routes, as well as roadway signage to alert drivers. Motorists who normally travel these roads on weekends should plan alternate routes. Those expecting to use the major road closures to cycle, run or walk should access them by bike or as a pedestrian, since nearby parking is limited and site parking is not provided.
When finalizing ActiveTO major road closures, special consideration is given to traffic impacts of planned construction, such as the work happening this weekend at Lake Shore Boulevard East and Lower Jarvis Street, and the annual spring maintenance closure of the Gardiner Expressway planned for the following weekend.
Major road closures are installed adjacent to City trails to make space for people, alleviate weekend and holiday crowding, and ensure there is room to be physically active and support physical distancing. These closures will happen on a trial basis and staff will monitor nearby routes and adjust the closures as necessary.
Along with the major road closures, ActiveTO includes a plan for 57 kilometres of Quiet Streets across the city.
Work on installing and planning Quiet Streets on neighbourhood roads is continuing. Quiet Streets are neighbourhood streets where traffic calming measures, such as signage and temporary barricades, are placed 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 are not impacted, and City services, such as waste collection and emergency access, continue as normal.
The ActiveTO program was developed by Toronto Public Health and Transportation Services 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. At the April 30 Council meeting, staff were requested to look at more active transportation as a crucial part of the restart and recovery and in anticipation of changes in traffic patterns in the coming weeks and months.
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.
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.
More information and details about ActiveTO are available at toronto.ca/activeTO
The CurbTO program continues to roll out to immediately address locations where there is sidewalk crowding and temporary parking concerns around 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.
Details about CurbTO, including a new map, as well as links to the business application are at toronto.ca/curbTO
story by Terry Lankstead
notes from City of Toronto