After weeks of talks about opening up more space for pedestrians and cyclists, Mayor John Tory says the City will open over 50 kilometres of 'quiet streets' across Toronto to promote social distancing during the COVID pandemic.
As part of the City's ActiveTO plan, the City will install 57 kilometres of 'quiet streets' in different neighbourhoods where traffic calming measures, including signage and temporary barricades, will be erected to encourage drivers to slow down and create a roadway that “welcomes people who walk, run and bike.”
The City says it began installing quiet streets Thursday in Kensington Market, Shaughnessy Boulevard, and Havenbrook Boulevard.
Parking and drop off areas will not be impacted, and City services, such as waste collection and emergency access, will continue as normal.
Starting this weekend, some major roads adjacent to trails will also be closed to make space for people and alleviate weekend and holiday crowding, and ensure there is room to be physically active and support physical distancing. The City says this will happen on a trial basis and staff will be monitoring nearby routes with real-time data and adjust as necessary.
Sections along major roads in Toronto will be fully closed this Victoria Day long weekend from Saturday, May 16 at 6 am until Monday, May 18 at 11 pm including:
Future weekend closures, that are not on a long weekend, will begin at 6 am on Saturdays until 11 pm on Sundays. Locations will be announced as they are finalized.
“ActiveTO is about making sure people have space to get outside during this phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, have space to get around while respecting physical distancing, and - when it comes to the larger bike lane projects - that we have a safety valve when it comes to the TTC," said Mayor John Tory in a statement.
“All of this represents both a quick start and a common-sense approach to respond to areas where there is bike and pedestrian congestion right now.”
Other cities have already implemented similar programs, including New York City, which has already closed a number of its streets to cars and opened them to pedestrians and cyclists amid the coronavirus crisis. The city’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, has said his goal is to have 100 miles of open streets before the end of the pandemic.