One of Toronto's most popular parks could be seeing a big change
Toronto parks have become more popular than ever during the lockdowns and people have enjoyed the car-free weekends at one of the city's most famous parks.
High Park in Toronto banned cars completely during the cherry blossom season of 2020 but then moved to closing the park only on the weekends much to the annoyance of people who enjoyed the safety of the car-free zone.
High Park is closed to cars on weekends. The road closure begins Friday night at approximately 11 p.m. and ends Monday morning at approximately 7 a.m. Limited street parking is available on Bloor Street.https://t.co/9ZBI7JNeE4 #HighPark pic.twitter.com/7xudxZcsIO— City of Toronto PFR (@TorontoPFR) September 18, 2021
Currently, the park closes to traffic at 11 p.m. Friday night and opens around 7 a.m. on Mondays. People driving to High Park must find parking on the street.
Lockdowns have seen more people walking or riding their bikes to work, according to Statistics Canada. And while gyms were closed, getting outside to a park was one of the only ways to get exercise.
Now that gyms are open and more cars are on the road again, High Park could go back to allowing vehicles seven days a week.
That is a concern from Walk TO who is encouraging people to speak out.
Have you enjoyed the car-free weekends in High Park? Fill out this survey to let the City know. https://t.co/TzxeTttJlR— Walk Toronto (@Walk_TO) September 30, 2021
"Have you enjoyed the car-free weekends in High Park?" they posted. "Fill out this survey to let the City know."
The survey is part of a study "to improve the travel network to better serve park users and the surrounding community, prioritizing safety and accessibility while preserving the park's ecological integrity."
The weekend closures were in response to the pandemic to give people more space to physically distance and they will be assessed as part of the study.
"These closures have sparked a broader conversation within the community about possible options for improving travel to, from and within the park," the survey reads.
It appears as if at least some people enjoy a car-free park on the weekends.
Thoroughly. No-brainer to keep High Park car-free on weekends (you know, it being a park and all). https://t.co/cWLbHmqCJ6— Alex Mather (@AlexDRMather) October 1, 2021
"Please fill this out and keep High Park free of cars," one person tweeted.
The study process seems to be lengthy — a "preferred solution for long term travel network improvements" is expected to be complete by the summer 2022 and no changes will be made until 2023.
But the city also says the study will explore interim solutions that could be delivered in the short term.
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