yonge street

Yonge Street is getting dedicated bike lanes and patio space this summer

A stretch of Toronto's busiest street is set to become a lot more vibrant this summer as the city tests out a pilot program that will priotize cyclist and pedestrian traffic with new curbside patios and dedicated bike lanes.

It's one of many major revamps in the works for Yonge Street, which officials are realizing could do with some public realm improvements to make it more attractive to visitors and residents alike.

Some of the longer-term plans for the thoroughfare include things like event spaces, parkette-like seating areas and pedestrian zones where car access is restricted during certain hours.

But protected cyclist lanes and curbside patios like those made popular by last year's CafeTO and ActiveTO projects, both created as a result of the pandemic, will be implemented much sooner along nearly 4km of Yonge between Bloor and Davisville.

CafeTO made it far easier for businesses to create and expand their outdoor spaces and have the chance to earn a profit after months of forced closures, while also giving residents more space to safely socially distance.

Its counterpart ActiveTO, meanwhile, temporarily closed roadways to offer the public more room to get out and enjoy the weather amid lockdown while maintaining a safe distance from other households.

Yonge Street was a successful part of the lauded initiatives, hence why city council is moving to do something similar this year.

The idea is to make Yonge a "complete street" accommodating for all citizens, not just those who drive, as a pilot and hopefully permanently through the various proposals on the table.

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