A huge portion of Yonge Street in Toronto will be shut down this weekend
As summer comes to a close, so do the road closures for the city's ActiveTO program, meaning that this will be the last weekend major thoroughfares go completely car-free to open up for pedestrian and cyclist use — and one of the biggest ones yet.
This Saturday and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., essentially all of the downtown portion of Bayview Avenue will be closed off, from Front Street East all the way up to Rosedale Valley Road. As in previous weekends, Lake Shore will also be shut from Windermere to Stadium Road.
But the most substantial closure will be of the city's main street, Yonge, which will be off-limits to cars for a massive expanse between the waterfront and Gerrard Street.
Both north and southbound lanes between the Esplanade and Gerrard, and northbound lanes only from Esplanade to Queen's Quay will be reserved exclusively for residents who want to enjoy the outdoors by walking or biking.
This weekend, closures will be in place from Saturday, Sep 26 at 6 a.m. to Sunday, Sep 27 at 11 p.m.:— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) September 25, 2020
• Lake Shore Boulevard W (Windermere Ave to Stadium Rd)
• Bayview Ave from Front St East to Rosedale Valley Rd, and River St from Gerrard St East to Bayview Ave.
Drivers have been quite frustrated with the weekly closures, blaming the program for traffic and car accidents on the Gardiner, which has unfortunately simultaneously been plagued by months of lane closures due to construction as the expressway gets a much-needed facelift.
But, it seems the bulk of residents have only glowing reviews of the initiative, which along with the recent additions of more bike lanes and extended streetside patios have made the city feel a lot more vibrant, Euro and forward-thinking.
I was out riding #activeTO today too and it really showed me that "if you build it, they will come". So many families out with kids safely enjoying the roads, in ways I don't think Toronto has ever done before. These could be formative cycling memories for a generation.— I'll be Frank with you (@syncros) September 20, 2020
Though this summer has likely been the most absurd and stressful one most of us have experienced in our lifetimes for obvious reasons, it has also been memorable in good ways, too, and it's hard to deny that the sweeping changes the city has undergone have been for the better.
And, the City is now looking at extending both ActiveTO and CafeTO into next summer due to their success.
Oh yeah, those weekend closures. Please bring those to the suburbs, so everyone can enjoy those.— Hafeez A. (@trainguy89) September 24, 2020
According to city stats, more than 25,000 cyclists and around 10,000 pedestrians took advantage of some of the major street closures over summer weekends, getting out to grab some fresh air and explore their neighbourhoods while having the space to maintain physical distancing and stay safe.
Averages from June, July & August weekends:— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) September 25, 2020
• 18,000 cyclists & 4,000 pedestrians on Lake Shore Blvd W
• 6,300 cyclists & 5,700 pedestrians on Lake Shore Blvd E
• 2,000 cyclists & 300 pedestrians on Bayview Ave.
Plus 1,900 cyclists & 250 pedestrians on Don Valley Trail
Having more space designed for humans and not for cars has "contributed to overall wellbeing," the city says.
Hopefully, we'll all be able to find alternative ways to get out of our houses and stay sane over the colder months, especially if we end up getting locked down again.
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