Data shows ActiveTO weekend road closures make room for thousands of people to enjoy physical activity along Toronto’s most popular trails

Today, Mayor John Tory announced that data shows ActiveTO major road closures are making room for people to be physically active along Toronto’s busiest and most popular trails. Each weekend, these closures make space for residents to be outside, physically active and practise physical distancing while enhancing their overall wellbeing.

City staff collected and verified data from Saturday, May 23 and Sunday, May 24, the first weekend that all of the closures (Lake Shore Boulevard West and East, as well as Bayview Avenue) were put in place. The data confirmed that the routes are a very popular option for people walking, running and on bikes who need space along Toronto’s busiest trails.

The peak counts from Saturday, May 23 are below. The numbers for both Lake Shore Boulevard West and East include the roadway closure, as well as the adjacent Martin Goodman Trail and/or boardwalk:

  • 21,000 people on bikes and 4,400 pedestrians on Lake Shore Boulevard West at Ontario Drive
  • 5,000 people on bikes and 5,400 pedestrians on Lake Shore Boulevard East, east of Coxwell Avenue
  • 4,700 people on bikes and 1,000 pedestrians on Bayview Avenue, north of River Street. Plus 3,400 people on bikes and 750 pedestrians on the adjacent Don Valley Trail

These counts were completed over eight hours (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.) on both days of the weekend. On this particular weekend, counts on Sunday, May 24 were slightly lower and came in about 75 per cent of Saturday counts.

ActiveTO Major Road Closures this weekend:

The following ActiveTO Major Road closures that will be in place this weekend, from Saturday, June 20 at 6 a.m. to Sunday, June 21 at 11 p.m. include:

  • Lake Shore Boulevard West (eastbound lanes only) from Windermere Avenue to Stadium Road. As a result, 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 Leslie Street to just south of Woodbine Avenue (Kew Beach Avenue)
  • Bayview Avenue from Front Street East to Rosedale Valley Road, and River Street from Gerrard Street East to Bayview Avenue

Motorists should note that this weekend, from 12:01 a.m. Saturday, June 20 to 5:59 a.m., Monday, June 22, there will also be a partial intersection closure of Lake Shore Boulevard East and Sherbourne Street for construction so crews can safely remove and replace sections of the Gardiner Expressway above as part of the work to rehabilitate the Gardiner Expressway from Jarvis Street to Cherry Street. During this work, there will be no access to northbound Sherbourne Street from eastbound Lake Shore Boulevard East or southbound Sherbourne Street from westbound Lake Shore Boulevard East.

ActiveTO major road closures are installed adjacent to City trails to make space for people, alleviate weekend crowding, and ensure there is room to be physically active and support physical distancing.

Vehicle access on these sections of major roads will not be permitted to allow for walking, running and cycling. These closures will continue on a trial basis and will be adjusted as required. The City actively manages traffic during these closures through signal timing adjustments on adjacent routes and 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 walk, run or cycle should access them as a pedestrian or by bike, since nearby parking is limited and site parking is not provided.

Toronto has a robust trail and cycling network, near and around neighbourhoods throughout the city, that residents are encouraged to use every day to be physically active while respecting physical distancing.

A cycling network map, including multi-use trails, is available at https://www.toronto.ca/services-payments/streets-parking-transportation/cycling-in-toronto/cycling-google-map/

Walking and hiking trails are available at https://www.toronto.ca/explore-enjoy/recreation/walking-hiking/trails/

ActiveTO Cycling Network update:

New this week, work on installation of a temporary bike lane is starting on University Avenue/Queen’s Park Crescent, between Adelaide Street West and Bloor Street West. Design and installation planning are well underway for routes along Bloor Street, between Avenue Road and Sherbourne Street, and Bayview Avenue between River Street and Rosedale Valley Road.

Installation of approved permanent cycling routes is happening simultaneously. A current example includes separated bike lanes along Douro Street/Wellington Street, which will be finalized later this week.

The ActiveTO cycling network plan is part of the largest expansion of Toronto’s on-street bike network in one year and will include a total of approximately 40 kilometres of new cycling routes for 2020. The cycling network is being expanded quickly through temporary installations by repurposing curb lanes along several key corridors. The first kilometre of new ActiveTO temporary cycle track has already been installed along Dundas Street East, between Sackville Avenue and Broadview Avenue.

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. All ActiveTO initiatives have been created to be adaptable, flexible and temporary.

Quiet Streets update:

All planned and approved Quiet Streets locations are now in place, totalling 65 kilometres along 32 neighbourhood routes across Toronto. Staff continue to actively monitor and adapt all locations, based on neighbourhood use, and have been returning to locations to address on-street issues as they arise.

Quiet Streets are shared space to allow residents to maintain physical distancing, while getting around on neighbourhood streets. Signage and temporary barricades are placed at intersections to encourage slow, local vehicle access only so the roadway can be a shared space that welcomes people who walk, run or bike as an alternative to riding transit. Parking and drop off areas are not impacted and City services, such as waste collection and emergency access, continue as normal. Quiet Street locations have been prioritized based on several factors including population density, equity and access, access to greenspace, nearby attractions, traffic volumes and other considerations.

More information on ActiveTO, including an online map of all locations, is available at http://www.toronto.ca/activeTO.

CurbTO update:

The CurbTO program continues to immediately address locations where there is sidewalk crowding and temporary parking concerns around businesses. To date, 81 pedestrian curb lane zones have been installed, 60 temporary parking pick-up zones, and five locations have had sidewalks widened into the curb lane.

Details about CurbTO, including a new map and links to the business application are at http://www.toronto.ca/curbTO.

Quotes:

“ActiveTO is a well-timed, well-executed sensible yet comprehensive program that is creating a network of space for people to get out and move all around Toronto during the COVID-19 pandemic. This data reinforces what I’ve been hearing; that residents, including families, like these spaces because they allow for safe physical activity and those using them feel more comfortable and secure that they are doing their part to stop virus spread.”

– Mayor John Tory

“ActiveTO is providing an opportunity to use our roadways to support overall mobility and make safe, available space for everyone in the wake of the pandemic. Major road closures amplify Toronto’s Vision Zero Road Safety plan by putting active transportation at the forefront and it appears, based on the data counts, that movement in the form of cycling and walking is a very popular means to get around. Traffic volumes remain low and leveraging the available space for both leisure and a more connected cycling route will absolutely support Toronto’s restart and recovery.”

– Councillor James Pasternak (Ward 6 York Centre), Chair of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee