Toronto is permanently closing a downtown street
This weekend is your last chance to drive westbound on Fleet Street between Bathurst and Iannuci, if for some reason you enjoy doing that.
As of Monday, November 25, the 200-metre stretch of roadway will be permanently closed to vehicular traffic and converted into a pedestrian and cyclist-friendly lane.
The City of Toronto announced the news Friday, explaining that the "high-collision, five-arm intersection has long been a problematic location in the city's road network for all modes of travel."
Turning westbound from Bathurst onto Fleet Street has proven incredibly confusing for drivers, who are faced with one narrow traffic lane next to a poorly-demarcated, slightly-raised streetcar throughway.
Accidents are frequent and traffic from cars turning into the lane frequently delays both the 509 and 511 streetcars.
"The multi-modal Vision Zero safety improvement will shorten crossing distances for pedestrians and reduce vehicle turns and transit delays," writes the city of Fleet Street's impending closure.
"The step will be followed by monitoring, installation of streetscaping features and a technical review of the larger intersection for future pedestrianization and public realm plans for the whole area."
Bathurst and Lake Shore needs a complete do-over. A massive five-arm intersection doesn't fit in the middle of a neighbourhood, and it doesn't work for pedestrians, drivers, or transit riders.— Joe Cressy (@joe_cressy) November 22, 2019
Ward 10 Councillor Joe Cressy, who spearheaded the initiative and has been pushing it ahead for years, is thrilled to finally start reconfiguring the intersection that currently separates Bathurst Quay, Fort York, and CityPlace.
"Closing this small block of westbound Fleet Street is the fastest way to make a significant difference for safety," he wrote in a letter posted to his website on Thursday.
"Pedestrianizing the block of westbound Fleet Street will shorten the crossing distance and time for pedestrians, making it faster, safer, and more comfortable to make this crossing."
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