Cyclists, pedestrians take advantage of closed Toronto roads over the weekend (PHOTOS)

May 25 2020, 9:13 am

Toronto residents are taking advantage of the closed major streets on weekends, which is part of the recent ActiveTO program.

This last weekend, was the second in a row, where three major streets were closed to provide more space for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy the outdoors as the city weather gets warmer.

The three major roads closed from Saturday, May 23 at 6 am, until Sunday, May 24 at 11 pm, included:

  • 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.

According to the City, major road closures are installed adjacent to 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.

So far, many Toronto residents are taking advantage of the new program, showing their support on social media for the road closures.

The page, BikeTO, said “It’s a beautiful thing! Let’s keep it.”

Another Westend resident said, “Let’s file ActiveTO under good ideas to keep post-COVID. So many smiles seen on the bike ride along Lakeshore this morning!”

A management consultant and urban planner also commented on social media saying the program shows what can happen if space if opened to “sustainable modes of transportation.”

A timelapse video was also taken of Lakeshore Road to show the foot and cycling traffic on the streets, allowing for physical distancing.

“Pure joy. Lakeshore Road closed to cars but open to cyclists, runners, skateboarders, physical distancing possible in this wide stretch.”

Along with the major road closures, ActiveTO includes a plan for 57 km 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 the coronavirus

And, as the city continues to see less traffic, Toronto is looking to add about 40 km of on-street cycling infrastructure to encourage physical activity and support small businesses.

A report heading to City Council on May 28 outlines the Cycling Network Plan Installations, which includes the Bloor West Bikeway Extension, as well as new ActiveTO projects.

The Cycling Network Plan was updated to name Bloor Street as a Major City-Wide Cycling Route, according to the report from Transportation Services.

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