activeto road closures

Toronto drivers say ActiveTO road closures are causing brutal traffic on the Gardiner

Toronto has been closing sections of major roads to cars to make space for cyclists and pedestrians each weekend for several months now, but some drivers say the program is creating unbearable traffic for those trying to access the city by vehicle.

The ActiveTO program was first introduced in May as a way to allow residents to get outside and move around safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The weekend road closures are just one part of the initiative, which also includes an expansion of the city's cycling network and creating local "Quiet Streets."

Among cyclists and pedestrians, the program has been a hit, with more residents than ever choosing to hop on a bike and go for a ride on the weekend thanks to the reduced risk of being struck by a car and the ample space it provides. 

But as the city began to open back up, road usage also increased and the streets and highways quickly filled with cars once again.

"ActiveTO has affected the Gardiner highway specifically," said Ryan E., a resident whose been particularly frustrated by the weekend traffic he's faced thanks to these road closures.

"I went to downtown Toronto on a Saturday and was stuck in traffic longer than I should've. It's the weekend. There shouldn't be volume of such magnitude when it isn't during the work week."

Ryan said he's noticed that the number of drivers on the road has increased significantly since the beginning of the pandemic when traffic was sparse since most motorists were staying home

But now that people are out and about more and more, he said ActiveTO road closures are resulting in rush hour-level traffic jams in the middle of the weekend.

"I firmly believe that the city should stop the weekend ActiveTO closures because it's not a necessity," he said. "There's other routes people can go to ride their bikes and/or go for walks."

Ryan also said he believes the road closures are making it more difficult and less attractive for those living outside the downtown core and throughout the GTA to come into the city on weekends.

"ActiveTO will just deter people from coming to the city on the weekend," he said. "People want to spend the day or weekend gallivanting around the city. Why should they have to worry about [traffic] on the weekend, when they face enough of it during the work week?"

In addition to traffic, a spike in accidents on the Gardiner Expressway has also been reported over the past few weeks, which some motorists are also blaming on ActiveTO.

Fortunately for those that have been complaining, ActiveTO major road closures are only set to continue until the end of September. 

The closures are set to be in place up to and including the weekend of Sept. 26-27, so motorists will only have to grin and bear it for a few more weeks.

Lead photo by

Jeremy Gilbert

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