Toronto launches plan to address lineups, crowded sidewalks in over 100 hot spots

Apr 27 2020, 1:38 pm

The City of Toronto is launching a program to target busy curb side pick up locations, in order to improve physical distancing measures for pedestrians picking up essential items during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Monday, Mayor John Tory announced that CurbTO will focus on the curb side pick up locations, eventually addressing 100 sites, to stop pedestrians getting to close to each other as they wait to pick up takeout or other essential items.

Curb lane pedestrian zones will increase space for pedestrians trying to get around line-ups outside essential businesses and other pinch points.

And, temporary parking pick-up zones will provide an opportunity for drivers and delivery agents to expedite medicine and food pick-ups by allowing them to temporarily park for up to 10 minutes in close proximity to the desired essential business in otherwise restricted parking areas.

Tory said CurbTO was formed by the Toronto Police Service, Toronto Public Health and Toronto Transportation.

City staff have worked to identify key hot spots where there are lineups or pinch points on sidewalks that public health and transportation officials have determined need to be addressed to continue physical distancing measures.

“People in the city are offering deliveries and curbside pick up to ensure of physical distancing measures,” Tory said.

“But it can cause lineups or crowds to unintentionally gather in sidewalks causing some challenges.”

The mayor said that CurbTO will analyze the specific needs of the different pickup locations and will offer personalized guidelines for each pinch point, like detailed signage and new parking locations.

The program’s 10 hotspots are along busy retail main streets including:

  1. Carlton Street and Church Street – pedestrian zone
  2. Danforth Avenue and Broadview Avenue – pedestrian and parking zones
  3. DuPont Street and Lansdowne Avenue – pedestrian zone
  4. Bay Street and Yorkville Avenue – parking zone
  5. Front Street East and Berkeley Street – pedestrian and parking zones
  6. Gerrard Street East and Parliament Street – pedestrian zone
  7. Gerrard Street East and Broadview Avenue – pedestrian and parking zone
  8. King Street West and Spadina Avenue – parking zone
  9. Bloor Street West and Bathurst Street – pedestrian and parking zone
  10. Queen Street East and Carlaw Avenue

Tory said that in some cases a temporary curb lane closure may be the only response.

He acknowledged that some residents have wanted more of this — to close down main streets in the city to ensure pedestrians have proper physical distancing of two metres.

“Our advice is to stay home. We will not start closing down major streets,” Tory said.

Tory assured residents that we will “get back to normal even if that normal looks a little different.”

He said the municipal government is doing everything it can to protect individuals, while working towards a plan to reopen the economy.

But for now, residents must follow public health advice, which Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa, agreed with.

“We are still in the middle of our local pandemic outbreak, we must stay at home.”

De Villa confirmed there are 4,973 cases with 308 patients in hospital, of which 104 are in ICU.

So far, 297 residents have died.

But de Villa noted that  2,670 patients have recovered, a promising sign that “our efforts are working.”

De Villa said the economy can reopen when the city is in a safe enough place to relax them and the cases show a consistent decrease in numbers over time.

Earlier on Monday, the province announced a three-stage approach to reopening the economy but did not give any specific date on when it can begin.