Toronto to close major roads for pedestrians and cyclists this weekend and here's where
Toronto's ActiveTO program saw major roads closed to cars for 25 consecutive weekends last summer to give residents enough space to walk and bike safely, and now the initiative is back for 2021.
The city announced in March that the program would be returning this year after a successful run in 2020, and Mayor John Tory confirmed Monday that its inaugural weekend will take place on May 1 and 2.
"We are committed to giving people more places to get outside safely, to get fresh air and exercise, and ActiveTO has proven to be a successful way to do that," Tory said during the city's press briefing Monday afternoon.
"I encourage people to get out and get active while following all the public health measures. Stick to just your household when you're out, and please keep your distance from others."
Beginning Saturday, May 1 at 6 a.m. until Sunday, May 2 at 9 p.m., the following road closures will be in place for vehicles:
These routes will be closed to vehicles and open to people on bikes as well as pedestrians. Residents planning to use ActiveTO routes should do so only with members of their own household and access them by bike or as a pedestrian because nearby parking is limited.— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) April 26, 2021
And while this weekend's closures don't include last year's most popular route — the 6-kilometre stretch on Lake Shore Boulevard West — Tory said staff are working on finding sensible and practical ways to eventually include the much-loved closure in this year's ActiveTO program.
The city intially said this closure would be excluded from the program altogether this year as a result of construction and congestion, but the decision was reversed after thousands of residents signed a Cycle Toronto petition to bring the route back.
Mayor Tory said Monday that weekend closures will also be expanded to Allen Road starting on June 6, with specific details of the closure set to be released as soon as they're finalized.
"To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the cancellation of the Spadina Expressway in 1971, we are planning to close the Allen Road on June the 6," he said.
"We are working to bring ActiveTO to different parts of the city, and this will be a good trial of an expansion of the program beyond downtown and the waterfront."
Last year, the first #ActiveTO major weekend road closures were installed in time for the May long weekend, making the start to this year’s weekend closures nearly three weeks sooner.— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) April 26, 2021
City staff will continue to review the potential for other weekend closures, according to Tory, namely along Black Creek Drive and roads within Exhibition Place.
The city is also using this opportunity to to draw attention to other places around the city that offer space to bike, walk or run, including but not limited to High Park (which is closed to cars on weekends), The Meadoway in Scarborough, the Humber Valley Trail in Etobicoke and the Finch Hydro Corridor in North York.
"The return of ActiveTO weekend road closures means even more space available in our city for people to get outside and get active," said chair of the Infrastructure & Environment Committee, councillor Jennifer McKelvie, in a statement.
"Opening roads for people will help to complement Toronto’s vast number of trails, parks, paths and ravines that remain accessible and available to everyone for fresh air and physical activity."
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