Toronto's plan to open streets for cyclists and pedestrians has been a huge success
The City of Toronto announced a plan in early May to close portions of major roads to cars on weekends in an effort to provide more space for pedestrians and cyclists, and new data shows that it's been largely successful.
The first weekend that all major road closures were in place was May 23-24, and city staff collected and verified data from that weekend to determine just how many pedestrians and cyclists took advantage of it.
"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," reads a release from the city.
Data shows ActiveTO weekend road closures make room for thousands of people to enjoy physical activity along Toronto’s most popular trails. News release: https://t.co/BuXOfEUGaj pic.twitter.com/oItrVe9KXP— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) June 17, 2020
Here are the city's peak counts from Saturday, May 23 (the numbers for both Lake Shore Boulevard West and East include the road closure and the adjacent Martin Goodman Trail and/or boardwalk):
City staff completed these counts over eight hours (from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.) on both days of the weekend, but counts for Sunday were slightly lower and came in at about 75 per cent of those on Saturday.
The city is once again planning three separate road closures near major parks or trails this weekend, amounting to more than 10 km of open space for pedestrians and bikers to properly physically distance while enjoying the outdoors.
Here are the ActiveTO road closures that will be in place this weekend from Saturday at 6 a.m. to Sunday at 11 p.m.:
Great benefits of #ActiveTO's OPENING Streets to People to walk, run, bike and closing to motor vehicles. Urgency to expand successful program & make it citywide, NOT just along high income areas on the waterfront. Give priority to connect it with low income areas of city. #OneTO https://t.co/Tmb1t9BdbF pic.twitter.com/5z10N5d09A— G_Penalosa (@Penalosa_G) June 17, 2020
These road closures are just one part of the city's ActiveTO plan, which also includes a quick expansion of Toronto's cycling network and 65 kilometres of "quiet streets": small neighbourhood streets with signange to encourage slow, local vehicle access only.
According to the city, work on the University Avenue/Queen's Park Crescent bike lane, which will run between Adelaide Street West and Bloor Street West, is set to begin this week.
Design and installation planning are also well underway for routes along Bloor Street between Avenue Road and Sherbourne Street, and Bayview Avenue between River Street and Rosedale Valley Road.
Amazing #'s from #ActiveTO— Dave 🚲__⬅️2m➡️__🚲 Edwards (@DaveLikesBikes) June 17, 2020
If you build it they WILL come
Can't wait to see what Danforth is going to look like once it is a complete street
This city is so thirsty for places to walk and cycle safely, I think we're underestimating how successful #DestinationDanforth will be https://t.co/Zqb4TeLOC5
Separated, permanent bike lanes along Douro Street/Wellington Street are also set to be installed later this week.
"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," Mayor John Tory said in the release.
"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."
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