Toronto closing three major roads to make room for outdoor activities this weekend

May 20 2020, 1:56 pm

Mayor John Tory announced that the City of Toronto will expand ActiveTO’s major road closures this weekend to provide residents with more space to physically distance while outdoors and getting exercise.

Vehicle access on parts of more major roads will be closed for walking, running, and biking this Saturday and Sunday.

According to the City, 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.

The following three major road closures are planned this weekend from Saturday, May 23 at 6 am until Sunday, May 24 at 11 pm:

  • 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, and 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,” Tory said.

“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.”

This upcoming weekend is expanding the holiday weekend closures, by adding Lake Shore Boulevard East from Coxwell Avenue to south of Woodbine, as well as the eastbound Gardiner Expressway off ramp to Lake Shore Boulevard West.

The City will 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.

According to the City, 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.

Along with the major road closures, ActiveTO includes a plan for 57 kilometres of Quiet Streets across the city.

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 the coronavirus 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.