Big Changes at High Park
Back in 2021, the High Park Movement Strategy study began in order to assist in rethinking High Park’s travel network due to the city’s growing population and changing travel patterns. The goal of the study was to improve mobility within the park, while prioritizing safety, accessibility, and the park’s ecological integrity.
In May, council approved changes to the park’s road network and policies surrounding private vehicle access. Council voted to adopt permanent car free weekends and holidays, permanent closure of several road segments to cars, and improved pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. Almost 60 percent of the park’s parking spaces, many of which were located at the side of Colborne Lodge Drive, will be removed. This will free up space for the wide variety of other kinds of road users that travel the park’s main thoroughfares. The park will now be a safer and more enjoyable place for vulnerable road users.
Since the city began implementing the changes in August, visitors have enjoyed a safer, quieter, and more peaceful park. In the coming years, further improvements will include upgrades to physical infrastructure such as widened sidewalks and cycling infrastructure.
Change is difficult. Many who enjoy the park may have seen posters from the group High Park Access for All, which organized a rally that attracted only a dozen angry people. Their claim is that the park is now no longer accessible to people, despite the fact that anyone can drive into High Park on weekdays and there is a TTC bus route that operates on weekends, which are car-free, and brings passengers along the West Rd/Colborne Lodge Drive loop inside the park. We look forward to the city replacing the park's diesel-powered trackless train with a more sustainable and accessible replacement.