People walk and cycle on Bayview Ave during a weekend road closure. Photo by Robin Pueyo.
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It was May 2020, in the midst of a pandemic, that Mayor John Tory remarked, “It was just a good time to be a politician...” The reason why he could comfortably make that statement to news outlets? “...because people were actually happy after all these weeks of receiving bad news and being cooped up.” ActiveTO major road openings had started that weekend.
Cycle Toronto has been calling on the Mayor and senior City staff for the reintroduction and expansion of the weekend road openings. The program saw more people using Lake Shore Boulevard W when it was “closed” on a weekend than when it was “open” during the busiest weekday hours pre-pandemic. People love being able to safely walk, bike, push a stroller, or use a wheelchair on open streets.
What is Cycle Toronto calling for?
Bayview Avenue & Rosedale Valley Drive: Reintroduce Bayview from Front Street with extension to Pottery Road and north along Rosedale Valley Road
2020 Road opening on Bayview.
Cycle Toronto's proposed road opening expansion on Bayview and Rosedale Valley
Lake Shore Boulevard East: Leslie Street to Kew Beach Avenue
Lake Shore Boulevard West: Stadium Drive to as far west as possible (construction projects in the west end may limit length)
All 2020 maps courtesy of the City of Toronto.
The 2020 ActiveTO major road openings provided essential space along Toronto’s busiest paths and trails near the core and the lake. While these are good locations, more must be done to equitably encourage recreation and active transportation across the city. Spring is rapidly approaching and Torontonians need space where they can safely be outdoors.
Cycle Toronto recommends the City of Toronto to consider the following potential routes:
Allen Road: Lawrence Avenue to Eglinton Avenue. This benefits Lawrence Heights, Oakwood Village, Glen Park, and other nearby neighbourhoods.
Black Creek Drive: Lawrence Avenue to Weston Road. This benefits Weston, Rustic, Mount Dennis, Beechborough-Greenbrook, Rockcliffe-Smythe, Keelesdale-Eglinton West, and Weston-Pellam Park
Danforth Avenue: Warden Avenue to Kingston Road. This benefits Taylor-Massey, Oakridge, and Kennedy Park.
Highway 27: Belfield Road to Rexdale Boulevard, as well as Entrance Road and Grandstand Entrance Road. This benefits Thistletown-Beaumond Heights, Mount Olive-Silverstone-Jamestown, Elms-Old Rexdale, and Kingsview Village-The Westway.
McNicoll Avenue: Pharmacy Avenue to Silver Springs Boulevard or Silver Star Boulevard. This would connect a gap in the Finch Hydro Corridor recreational trail and benefit residents of Scarborough Agincourt and Scarborough North.
Maps created with Google My Maps.
In order to determine which routes to recommend for expansion we engaged in a public survey and consulted with community groups across the city. The routes also had to meet the following criteria:
- Minimize impact on driving: Have minimal intersections and have parallel corridors
- Accessibility by active transportation: Local residents can reach by biking, walking, or rolling to minimize the need for driving and parking
- More equitable distribution: Go beyond the core and include at least one of North York, Etobicoke, or Scarborough
- Support the City’s Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (NIAs): These are neighbourhoods identified by the City through an equity analysis considering factors such as economic opportunities, healthy lives, participation in decision-making, and physical surroundings.
How can I help?
You can also sign and share our Keep ActiveTO petition to show your support for this temporary program to be made a permanent part of the Toronto outdoor experience.
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I support new weekend ActiveTO routes in 2021
Dear members of Council,
I really enjoyed the ActiveTO major road openings to active transportation on weekends last year. It was amazing to experience that freedom of movement during the pandemic. Thank you for your leadership on this program in 2020.
I also support expanding the weekend ActiveTO major road openings so that residents across the city are more equitably served, with consideration for the following routes in 2021: