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Is it time Toronto embraced car-free streets?

Posted by Chris Bateman / December 6, 2012

toronto bikesWe've heard it before, that Toronto should clear cars from Yonge Street, especially around Yonge-Dundas Square due to the extremely high levels of pedestrian and transit traffic, but now there's some evidence that seems suggest these sorts of drastic steps wouldn't necessarily come with the negative impact on businesses that people tend to fear.

Draft findings by the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium discussed over at Atlantic Cities found customers who arrived at 81 businesses in various locations in the city on foot or by bicycle were in several cases just as likely to spend money compared to people who came by a car.

Indeed, at restaurants, bars, and convenience stores in the survey area those that answered the survey said they were just as happy to splash the cash compared to people with sets of car keys in their pockets. Carless visitors spent less per visit, but they seemed to come more often.

There are some clear limitations to the results: drivers will always spend the most at the supermarket because they have the trunk space to easily carry mountains of groceries home; they will also, hopefully, spend less at a bar to avoid a night in the drunk tank and DUI charges.

toronto pedestrian bike chartWhat is surprising here is the carless customers polled said they made more frequent stops at local businesses, possibly because it's easier for them to do so given widely available bike parking and the improved chances for an impulse visit based on appearance.

That said, Kelly Clifton, the author of the study, stresses these results came from streets where all modes of transport were allowed. "The majority of customers at all of the businesses still arrived by car," she says in an email, "So while I think that non-automobile consumers are competitive, the automobile still plays an important role for economic vitality — at least for now — in American cities."

"There are exceptions, of course, and one can imagine that this would change with changes in travel costs and improvements to infrastructure and services for non-automobile modes. I think political will to make these changes will come incrementally. But support is building for more walkable and bikable communities."

Emily Badger, the author of the Atlantic Cities post, wonders whether the findings suggest a "green dividend" — extra spending money generated by freedom from a costly automobile — is at work in the results. If it's present in Portland, why not here?

What do you make of these findings? Could certain areas of Toronto like Kensington Market and Yonge-Dundas Square be just as well served by cutting the cord on vehicle traffic? The Distillery is a quasi-pedestrianized area (there's parking on the outside and the entire site is really a destination in itself) yet there's a thriving shopping scene there, especially at this time of year with the Christmas market. Could we copy that concept in other parts of the city? If so, where?

Full report: "Consumer Behavior And Travel Mode Choices" [PDF]

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Photo: "Bike Gang" by Jackman Chiu in the blogTO Flickr pool.

Discussion

86 Comments

Me / December 6, 2012 at 08:46 am
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Pedestrians wouldn't stand a chance! At least cars usually stop for red lights.
steve replying to a comment from Me / December 6, 2012 at 08:56 am
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They do? Not were I live.
Rafa / December 6, 2012 at 09:09 am
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No
ROB / December 6, 2012 at 09:18 am
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This isn't Europe get over it. NO.
the lemur replying to a comment from ROB / December 6, 2012 at 09:29 am
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You're right, this is North America. And we all know there are no car-free streets or pedestrian zones anywhere in the US. None. Nope.
Chris on Bay St / December 6, 2012 at 09:37 am
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I'm a 24/7 pedestrian in the downtown core. Most cyclists I see DO NOT obey basic traffic laws. Why do they deserve their own roads??
Adam / December 6, 2012 at 09:40 am
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Car free streets are all over New York these days ... it's time for us to embrace foot and bike
Dan / December 6, 2012 at 09:43 am
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Absolutely certain areas should be pedestrianized. Queen St. between University and Spadina would be a great one, as would Yonge from Queen to College. You put retractable bollards at intersections so that the street can open up again over night for deliveries and for emergency vehicles.

The city should do more pilot projects on things like this; temporary experiments to see how they would actually work in real life.
phuong / December 6, 2012 at 09:51 am
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I like the idea. I don't get out on the bike enough because I was scraped by a car one four years ago, and unless it's biking within the block or to an area I know is quieter, I would take extra precaution. Having a car-free route would be great! I think it would encourage more people to get out and bike.
Jeff / December 6, 2012 at 09:53 am
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This blog is so biased its hilarious, yeah lets kill the car and while we are at it lets destroy the Gardiner and anything related to cars so no one comes into this city and only a bunch of hipsters peddle around the whole city. Give me a break. This is pathetic.
Salt / December 6, 2012 at 10:02 am
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Car free areas in most cities and areas with larger pedestrian thoroughfares are usually the ones that see the most shoppers, period. Why? Because they're usually downtown, more aesthetically pleasing (walkers and bikers notice more of the details) and because the shopping experience is nicer (these kinds of environments lend themselves very well to boutique-type shops... which usually raises the property value for the area.)

The pedestrian centres of European cities are usually the most economically secure areas of the city, as they are so appealing. That said... a mall is essentially a cheap knock-off of this experience, with a roof. Unfortunately the fake pedestrian-space is all owned by one corporation, so it never results in the same unique offerings as true public pedestrianized spaces do.

I agree entirely with Dan about retractable bollards. They're great for keeping cars out during "pedestrian designated" times, and for letting them in at times deemed suitable for deliveries or additional traffic-flow-through needs, such as early am or evenings.
Dan replying to a comment from Jeff / December 6, 2012 at 10:02 am
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We're talking about giving up a couple blocks of prime tourist/retail area to pedestrians. If you can't plan your route around that, you probably shouldn't be driving downtown.
alex / December 6, 2012 at 10:07 am
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They should close downtown to heavy traffic and have an extra charge if you want to drive there. That way there's more space for pedestrians and cyclists, more revenue for public transit, and less fumes.
Aaron / December 6, 2012 at 10:13 am
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We definitely need pedestrian zones on those busy streets where people are spilling off the sidewalks today (Yonge, Queen, King). It's ridiculous to have 10 cars with one occupant each, and another 10 parked cars, filling up three quarters of the street space while a hundred people jam into a much smaller area on the sidewalks. Let's get our priorities straight.
Binky / December 6, 2012 at 10:25 am
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NO
NO
NO
etc.
Logical step / December 6, 2012 at 10:35 am
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Ok. Fine let's put it to the shop and restaurant owners. If you ban drivers from your streets let's see you run your business once all traffic (including deliveries) are banned. Good luck running a business when no delivery company will deliver to your business as they can't park or drive anywhere near it.

For every street cars are banned on we should have 5 that cyclists are banned on. Fair is fair.

the lemur replying to a comment from Logical step / December 6, 2012 at 10:45 am
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That's why some people are suggesting that delivery vehicles be the only motor vehicles allowed in pedestrian areas (within certain periods). The amount of car traffic responsible for bringing customers to downtown stores is, depending on the street, usually greatly overstated, and it's not as if we don't have plenty of off-street parking available near most commercial thoroughfares already.

I'm fine with having pedestrian areas closed to bikes as well as cars (works in Europe as well), and I say that as someone who finds biking the best way of getting around downtown, most of the time.
Dan replying to a comment from Logical step / December 6, 2012 at 10:47 am
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How about instead of adopting such a knee-jerk reaction, you actually think about the issue. Car-free streets exist all over the world. This means that there is objective data that we can look at to determine what the effect on business is. As the article notes, car-free streets can have a positive impact on business.

We can also look at other cities to figure out how to deal with things like deliveries. As I said, retractable bollards allow you to open up the street to deliveries overnight.

We're also talking about small areas that have high pedestrian traffic and high tourist value.

Open your minds people, Toronto does not exist in a bubble. These ideas have been tried and proven in cities all over the world, including in North America (Montreal and New York both have car-free streets).
yes / December 6, 2012 at 10:50 am
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Yes, yes, yes. Disallow cars from the downtown core entirely or charge them like London does. There is no reason at all why we need cars downtown. Trucks can make their deliveries either overnight or pay a congestion charge.
RoFo for life! replying to a comment from Logical step / December 6, 2012 at 10:54 am
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I've always said, bikes have no place in the city of Toronto. We need to add lanes to all the main streets of Toronto by removing sidewalks and bike lanes. Bloor could be 8 lanes wide if we did that.

Cars, cars, cars!
steve replying to a comment from Chris on Bay St / December 6, 2012 at 10:54 am
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Bring that argument forward, most car drivers do not obey traffic laws. Roads are setup so as to minimize carnage and keep others safe. So why do car drivers deserve roads.
bikes replying to a comment from Chris on Bay St / December 6, 2012 at 10:59 am
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Cyclists deserve their own roads because you can fit more of them on a road than you can cars. Plus, they don't pollute and contribute positively to the riders' health.
Rob Ford / December 6, 2012 at 11:04 am
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There is no reason that there should be sidewalks in the city of Toronto. If the taxpayer were just LISTED TO for once, we could finally clear out all sidewalks and bike-lanes, and make more room for cars! PEOPLE JUST DON'T LISTEN.
Nisha Fernandes / December 6, 2012 at 11:38 am
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Toronto is so small! It's easy to walk around or take transit in Toronto and cars just add so much unneeded traffic! I full support the notion that certain areas of Toronto need to be car free!
tripper / December 6, 2012 at 11:40 am
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CALGARY has car-free streets, for the love of god. Well, one street. Stephen Ave. Mall downtown has been pedestrian only for ages and businesses seem to be thriving there. Emergency and delivery vehicles are allowed, naturally.
Rob replying to a comment from yes / December 6, 2012 at 11:42 am
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Hate to break it to you but Toronto =! London. Not even close. In particular, we don't have the public transportation infrastructure (SUBWAYS!) and a different climate.
Ben / December 6, 2012 at 11:47 am
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Watching from Copenhagen, this makes me sad to move back home. People said the same things back here when they started pedestrianizing the city centre in the 60s (''this is not Southern Europe''), but nobody would think of going back in time to the way the city was before.

Paige / December 6, 2012 at 11:51 am
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YES! The vibe changes when streets go car-free and returned to the people. Just look at European cities, Kensington Mkt pedestrian Sundays or even Toronto when Yonge, Church or Front are closed to cars. Foot traffic increase, areas are livelier and people are more engaged with their environment and each other.

Delivery trucks are not cars, Fordnation.

_n / December 6, 2012 at 11:51 am
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I think there are some areas that would be good as pedestrian only. Places like parts of Queen Street, Kensington, parts of Church Street, Yonge and Dundas. The comment up there about removable bollards or even a gate that can be opened over-night for deliveries and such is also a good idea.

And I mean why not do it? Most of the places that would be on the list for pedestiran / transit / bike only are already so over-flowing you can't really drive through them efficiently anyways. So what's your loss in the end car drivers? Some high blood pressure?
Fred replying to a comment from Rob / December 6, 2012 at 11:58 am
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what does Londons climate have to do with anything?

besides, Toronto may have a slightly colder winter, but has a far warmer summer, and London has grey skies/rain a lot more than Toronto.

in closing, fuck off.
Ban Bikes! / December 6, 2012 at 11:59 am
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I say we ban bikes from some streets!

It never ceases to amaze me when I see a mother or father biking, children in tow, on a major street with no bike lane. These people are a danger to themselves and their unwitting children. Our money should go into better funding for transportation not more money wasted on bicycles so hipsters can look cool in front of their friends.

I hope to piss as many of the moustache mafia as one can with the statement above.

Feel free to comment.

P.S. FORD ROCKS!

Cheerio
tripper / December 6, 2012 at 12:03 pm
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I'm always amazed when people drive their cars to/through Kensington Mkt. It's already a very dense, cramped, car-unfriendly neighbourhood. Pedestrians and cyclists have already, more or less, taken over the streets. What kind of total idiot thinks he can actually drive through it? It must be as frustrating for the motorist as it is for everyone getting out of the way.
bike haters fuck off replying to a comment from Ban Bikes! / December 6, 2012 at 12:10 pm
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MYOB, FOAD.
Paul / December 6, 2012 at 12:14 pm
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This is so overdue in this city it's not funny. Younge st. Between Queen and College or even Bloor St. should be car free during business hours. This will promote shopping and liven up this dreary city.

I find it hillarious all the people saying business will go under. Just like every major city in europe, those pedestrian only areas are completly business free. Right. /s
yes replying to a comment from Rob / December 6, 2012 at 12:39 pm
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I was not comparing Toronto to London, merely suggesting a congestion charge. You may find it incredible but Toronto does in fact have subways that run downtown. It's amazing the things you learn when you leave the insular suburbs.
c / December 6, 2012 at 01:09 pm
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PLEASE DO THIS IT'S ALL IVE EVER WANTED
Todd / December 6, 2012 at 01:13 pm
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It's absolutely needed, but as long as suburban policy dictates, I think it's likelier that sidewalks get removed opposed to pedestrian-only areas added.
A Anne / December 6, 2012 at 01:31 pm
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Legitimate question: What do cyclists do in the winter? I think sometimes people tend to forget that we live in Canada and from time to time we do get a shit-ton of snow.
Todd / December 6, 2012 at 01:40 pm
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They get new tires specifically for winter and bike on. In the core, the major streets are usually cleared of snow within a couple hours of snowfall. With the snow pushed towards the curb, it's actually somewhat safer if there's a wipeout.
vampchick21 replying to a comment from A Anne / December 6, 2012 at 01:40 pm
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You either don't come downtown often or stare at the sidewalk when you do. :) Trust me, cyclists ride their bikes in every type of weather. I see them every single day, and not just couriers. Yes, in the heavy snow and cold too. Hardy folk cyclsts.
Ian / December 6, 2012 at 01:47 pm
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Move to the country if you want to drive cars. You will never have to worry about bikes or pedestrians. You won't have to ever leave your car. It's a match made in heaven.
jd83 / December 6, 2012 at 01:50 pm
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Deliveries? Most businesses along some of the streets we are talking about don't get deliveries through the front door. That's why there are alleyways behind. It more likely FedEx and UPS not walking to drive back there to drop off a package.

They definitely should have a trial run on a portion of Queen and also Yonge.

I live in the Yonge & Bloor area. Whenever I drive I never drive through Dundas Sq area. I have no idea why people take that route... Before I even hit College I'm on a side street.
avas replying to a comment from Jeff / December 6, 2012 at 01:54 pm
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co sign , can we get over trying to be like Europe. that will only happen after our city is destroy by war and re built in a few peoples image .
avas replying to a comment from Ian / December 6, 2012 at 01:55 pm
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how about you move to the country and you can bike all the mountain trails you want no cars atall
baykes! replying to a comment from A Anne / December 6, 2012 at 01:56 pm
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Snow in Toronto? I've never seen enough snow fall in Toronto to prevent me from biking. If it snows so much that I can't bike, you won't be driving either.
Tony / December 6, 2012 at 01:56 pm
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What about shutting down the streets in the evenings only. Most pedestrians are out after work going to a movie, shopping, dinner etc. This way you accomodate everyone. Bus and auto traffic tends to die down after rush hour.
Sean / December 6, 2012 at 02:15 pm
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Nope. Cyclists don't go out en masse in winter. Cyclists don't want to get licensed either. Many don't wear helmets because they don't care of their safety. They rarely obey traffic laws. Streets need to stay open for traffic, deliveries and emergency vehicles because that's why streets were made for.
Todd replying to a comment from Sean / December 6, 2012 at 02:20 pm
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Streets were originally made to get horses and buggies around, actually, as that was once the primary mode of transportation. Other than walking, of course.

BUT IN 2012 TORONTO STREETS ARE JUST FOR CARS.


PedestriansBikesCars / December 6, 2012 at 02:21 pm
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As a user of all modes of transportation that lives in the downtown core, I wish there was more of an investment towards the pedestrian realm. The usage of Yonge street and the space allocated is a joke. It already is a pedestrian street so give it to the people. Queen to Bloor should be car free with a bidirectional bike lane down the middle like an Amsterdam street.
PedestriansBikesCars replying to a comment from A Anne / December 6, 2012 at 02:22 pm
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we bike, if there is too much snow, I walk
Rob replying to a comment from baykes! / December 6, 2012 at 02:34 pm
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Just because you're hardkor enough to ride your bike around through blizzards doesn't mean the average person is willing to do the same risking their lives (or at minimum risk getting frostbite) while looking like a total idiot in the process. Decisions made need to provide solutions for the most number of people, not just lunatics like you.
tripper replying to a comment from A Anne / December 6, 2012 at 02:42 pm
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Personally, I hang up my bike for the winter and walk. Bike traffic definitely decreases in the winter months so I'm assuming a lot of other cyclists do the same.

Why don't I cycle in winter? I would during the day, for sure. But I don't like cycling at night, after work, when it's dark. I'm a good cyclist, I'm lit up like a Christmas tree, and I wear a helmet, but a lot of motorists simply don't pay attention. I've had too many close calls on my way home from work in the dark and I just don't feel safe.
Todd replying to a comment from Rob / December 6, 2012 at 02:43 pm
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Sadly Rob, there is an advanced segment of the population that does not give a flying shit if idiot strangers think we look stupid. We're a little too evolved to care.
baykes! replying to a comment from Rob / December 6, 2012 at 03:01 pm
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Well, Robbie, if "decisions made need to provide solutions for the most number of people, not just lunatics like you [sic]", then cars should definitely take a back seat to streetcars. Streetcars move many more people than your car ever will. Cretin!
Rob replying to a comment from Todd / December 6, 2012 at 03:06 pm
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But apparently not evolved enough to differentiate a childish jab (I admit it) from a legitimate argument.
Todd / December 6, 2012 at 03:08 pm
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I don't see an argument in your original post, Rob. Just a series of childish jabs.
vampchick21 replying to a comment from Sean / December 6, 2012 at 03:11 pm
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Actually streets/roads were made for the quick and direct movement of troops as Rome systematically conqured large swathes of Europe, North Africa and what is now the Middle East. SAVE OUR STREETS FOR THE LEGIONS!
vampchick21 replying to a comment from Rob / December 6, 2012 at 03:12 pm
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Clearly you seem to think that the proposal at hand is to shut down all Toronto roads to vehicle traffic. Clearly your reading comprehension abilities are subpar.
Todd / December 6, 2012 at 03:13 pm
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The best thing about being a pedestrian/transit user who is fortunate enough to work near home (actually made the effort to uproot my home to be closer to work... what a novel concept!) is to see the hordes cram up the DVP oblivious to the fact that it's their reliance on the automobile-- not pedestrians, cyclists, or transit users-- that's making their commutes miserable.

The Shakes / December 6, 2012 at 03:44 pm
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Having car-free zones is ok, but really there should be atleast one or two permanent car free streets (that actually go somewhere), running alongside the subway lines. When you look around the world at other cities, often the car-free areas are actually the most vibrant, attractive and commercially active spots in the city. Think New York, Quebec City, Prague, Buenos Aires. Not sure if there's a correlation, but people also tend to not be as fat in those cities either.
Mayari replying to a comment from A Anne / December 6, 2012 at 04:01 pm
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I ride anyway, unless I get too scared, then I walk my bike. Surprisingly, still faster than walking.
the lemur replying to a comment from vampchick21 / December 6, 2012 at 04:27 pm
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Outta the way, I'm in a chariot, by Jupiter!
the lemur replying to a comment from Rob / December 6, 2012 at 04:30 pm
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The people who do ride through the winter either don't go out in blizzards (similar to pedestrians who don't either, and some of the smarter people who decide not to drive in snowstorms) or else they dress appropriately to avoid frostbite (as pedestrians mostly do) and are capable of doing so without 'looking like an idiot' (which is subjective, and not limited to biking).
vampchick21 replying to a comment from the lemur / December 6, 2012 at 04:37 pm
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You elitist Romans with your fancy chariots! ROADS ARE FOR MARCHING LEGIONS! We all know you got your chariot by melting down tribute!
Billyian replying to a comment from steve / December 6, 2012 at 04:38 pm
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Cars deserve roads because car owners pay tax for roads, what do cyclists pay for? Doesn't matter if you're a car driver or a pedestrian, they both hate cyclists!
vampchick21 replying to a comment from Billyian / December 6, 2012 at 04:47 pm
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Sigh. Really? Roads in municipalities are paid for out of property taxes. All residents of a municipality pay property taxes, either directly as property owners or indirectly through their rent as tenants. One would presume that a cyclist in an urban area would live in said urban area, whereas a driver of a motor vehicle has an equal chance of living in another municipality and working in the urban area, meaning their property taxes pay for roads outside of the urban area.
Rob replying to a comment from baykes! / December 6, 2012 at 04:48 pm
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Strange...I don't even own a car, or mentioned driving in my posts. Jumping to conclusions much?
Rob replying to a comment from vampchick21 / December 6, 2012 at 04:50 pm
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Gee, I wonder what would have given me that idea (apart from the title of this article which says CAR FREE streets). Yes, I'm aware it doesn't mean all of them. Clearly.
junctionist / December 6, 2012 at 04:50 pm
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We should do it! But we shouldn't build a pedestrian mall cut off from other streets like Sparks Street in Ottawa or other pedestrian malls in North America. Basically, we should make streets into flexible streets with attractive paving and sidewalks flush with the roadway, separated by collapsible bollards.

That way, streets can be pedestrianized all the time or only when it works based on local conditions: perhaps on weekends, all the time in the summer, or in the evenings, for example. Delivery trucks and municipal vehicles would still be able to use the pedestrianized streets, but they would have to give pedestrians the right of way when the streets are in pedestrian mode and drive slowly down that street for a limited distance. It's not unsafe, as this happens in busy parks in the summer like Centre Island where a city parks vehicle like a pickup slowly makes its way down a crowded path. Pedestrians also mix this way with cars even more frequently in mall parking lots, for instance, and nothing ever happens. It may be the only way to go to practical and successful pedestrianization.
baykes! replying to a comment from Rob / December 6, 2012 at 05:13 pm
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Nope, just shining a light on your profound love of public transit. You sure are sensitive!
Arturo / December 6, 2012 at 06:43 pm
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This discussion is truly amazing!

What we have now is a combination of sidewalks and roads, a system wherein all parties, pedestrians, cyclists and car users can all use the available space, that is you have a compromise solution and of course the majority of people are happy.

However, the writer of this post doesn't want a compromise solution, he wants a totalitarian solution wherein a large proportion of people will be forced to make a multi-kilometer detour so that a minority of people might enjoy a marginally better pedestrian experience.

Amazing, simply amazing!
junctionist replying to a comment from Arturo / December 6, 2012 at 08:55 pm
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Most people on Yonge aren't in cars, yet the majority of the space on Yonge Street is going to accommodate the minority: cars. Most people aren't that happy with the compromise. Pedestrians would prefer not to be crammed on the limited sidewalks and would enjoy more restaurant patios and places to sit down, and cyclists would prefer some dedicated space for a safer ride. Drivers rarely find a narrow urban street with many traffic lights satisfactory, but we can't demolish all the buildings and widen the street. We might as well focus on those people who can make the best use of the limited space: pedestrians and cyclists. Drivers will still have other streets.
_n replying to a comment from Arturo / December 7, 2012 at 11:18 am
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So, if you are in a car, that's what kind of detour, 10 minutes? I'd rather you, in a car, go around the block because of a pedestrian zone than pedestrians having to go out of the way for your car.

Which will probably just be stuck in traffic anyways.
The Shakes replying to a comment from Arturo / December 7, 2012 at 12:10 pm
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So by your logic, we must tear down all highways, as they are totalitarian solutions that only serve one mode of transport.

Amazing, simply amazing!
Aaron / December 7, 2012 at 12:59 pm
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Whoa, whoa, whoa! Let's not blindly go where other cities have boldly gone 50 years before. This is Toronto we're talking about - entirely different from every other city on the planet. Let's proceed cautiously with at least 5 more years of studies, 50 council debates, a series of flip-flops and reversals followed by a half-assed implementation period followed by a multi-year reassessment followed by a series of recommendations followed by a follow-up EA followed by a new series of council debates and public meetings followed by more studies and recommendations followed by...
Jeff replying to a comment from yes / December 7, 2012 at 03:08 pm
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I live midtown and work down by the island airport. I work at 5am. How am I supposed to get there quickly without going through the downtown what so ever? Want me to take the TTC? Sure let me ride a 50 minute bus to the water when I can drive it in 10 minutes since this great city lacks a 24 hour subway system.
Alex / December 7, 2012 at 04:05 pm
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Definitely close off Yonge around Dundas for pedestrians only at certain times, with delivery vehicles excepted (though I think they just use back streets). It's already way slow there for cars and bikes anyway, and they are vastly outnumbered by pedestrians.
Me / December 7, 2012 at 04:14 pm
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Who cares what the 7 bicycle riders in Toronto want?
lala replying to a comment from Me / December 7, 2012 at 05:08 pm
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True dat a.k.a. I know right?
junctionist replying to a comment from Me / December 7, 2012 at 07:37 pm
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Are you kidding? Most Torontonians own and ride bikes. Cycling is increasing in popularity as a main form of transportation. Cycling tourism is increasing in popularity. You can't belittle it. However, if Yonge is pedestrianized, cyclists should be able to use it by riding slowly, with pedestrians having the right-of-way. With all the space of a pedestrianized street and the clear right of way for pedestrians, accidents would not be likely.
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from Nisha Fernandes / December 7, 2012 at 08:52 pm
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DOWNTOWN Toronto is like that, not the rest of it. How would you enforce such a thing in the suburbanized areas of the city?

Other than my response, I agree with this idea/concept.
M. Heavyfoot replying to a comment from The Shakes / December 7, 2012 at 09:08 pm
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Would you PLEASE quit it with your anti-people of size bullshit? What the frack do you think will happen to you when you get old?
yes replying to a comment from Jeff / December 8, 2012 at 10:02 am
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Well, you could pay the congestion charge for the luxury of driving through the downtown. Pretty simple.
Phil / December 9, 2012 at 08:44 am
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I think the best place for a pedestrian zone is Queen between Jarvis and Spadina. It should be evenings, including rush hour, and weekends only, and open to traffic on weekdays during the day. Doing so would not only take advantage of the existing pedestrian traffic, and make the street safe for bikes, it would also dramatically improve service on the Queen Streetcar.

In addition, Queen is close to Richmond and Adelaide, so there should be no concerns about making it hard for cars to get around. Queen Street traffic goes at practically a walking pace on evenings and weekends anyway.
Kat / December 9, 2012 at 09:41 pm
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I like how everything thinks it has to be one way or the other. Why not take a page from Copenhagen where a third of the street is designated to each mode of transportation, and they are separated from each other by parking lanes so everyone stays safe.

Alternatively, why does everyone think you need to drive downtown? As an avid biker/TTCer/pedestrian and occasional driver, I avoid Yonge/Dundas like the plague. No matter what form of transpo - it is just too congested. If we eliminated cars there, it would make it a much easier and more efficient route for everyone else, and the cars could zoom South along Jarvis or Church just fine.

I really don't see a reason to ever want/need to drive a car at Y/D. The downtown core is very small - just walk.
mike / December 10, 2012 at 05:27 pm
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good news: everything new york does, the rest of north america does ten years later. so... eight years til we get serious about this.
bad news (for ppl saying "we arnt europe"): uh, the nazis invented the interstate highway system before the US. before that we were all pretty pedestrian over here. we can whatever we want.

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