SafewaysTO

Five Toronto-based organizations have come together to create SafewaysTO, an initiative that offers Torontonians an emerging network of increasingly-vital safe, linear public spaces or “safeways” (including bike lanes, multi-use trails, parks and ActiveTO closures), providing city-dwellers expanded routes to navigate and enjoy on foot and by active transportation safely. SafewaysTO is led by Cycle Toronto, Walk Toronto, The Bentway, Park People and Spacing Magazine - organizations all dedicated to improving and enhancing the city’s public realm that have banded together to advocate for safe and viable routes for Torontonians, specifically for recreation, exploring, and commuting.


Cartographer: Sean Marshall

A generously endowed and welcoming network of public safeways in more normal times provides a crucial service and offers significant benefits for public health. COVID-19 has now raised the ante. As the weather turns and restrictions begin to be lifted, Toronto is joining the dozens of cities around the world (from Berlin to Bogota, New York, Paris, Oakland, Milan, Vilnius, Vancouver, Calgary and Brampton) that are rapidly expanding networks of safeways themselves to move around the city during the pandemic, turning over hundreds of kilometers of traffic lanes and, in many cases, entire streets to pedestrians and cyclists.

These safeways are both a critical response to the current moment and part of a solution towards a safe and sustainable post-COVID future.

Toronto currently has many streets prioritizing cars:

But there are far fewer that prioritize pedestrians and active transportation:

5,397 km

of total streets

147.5 km

bike lanes

346 km

multi-use trails

57 km

New/ planned ActiveTO “quiet streets”

To demonstrate the potential of this network and the need to build upon and maintain it long after the COVID wave wanes, Cycle Toronto, Walk Toronto, The Bentway, Park People, and Spacing Magazine compiled all safeways in the city, mapped out together for the first time in the above map. The map includes:

  • Existing bike lanes
  • Existing multi-use trails
  • Existing parks and public spaces
  • Quiet streets (ActiveTO)
  • Major road closures (ActiveTO)
  • Newly-announced cycle routes (ActiveTO) and Toronto’s adopted 10 Year Cycling Network Plan (2016)

Here's a static version of the map with just the roads removed:

Partner Organizations


Cycle Toronto is a member-supported not-for-profit organization that works to transform our city’s cycling culture. Walk Toronto is a grassroots pedestrian advocacy group that works with various levels of government, community groups and citizens to improve walking conditions and safety in Toronto. Park People supports and mobilizes the power of parks to build strong communities, healthy environments and resilient cities.
 
The Bentway imagines how we build, experience, activate, and value public space together, anchored by a unique and innovative public space underneath Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway.

Spacing Magazine pushes readers to think critically about how they can shape the public spaces that surround their everyday lives.

 

Support us

The way we advocate has transformed during COVID-19. We’ve moved quickly to adapt and transform our advocacy, but at the end of the day, we are still advocating for our members. As we’ve shifted our operations online, many of our usual fundraising activities have been cancelled. If you value the work we do, please join or make a donation. Even $5 a month supports our educational outreach, running (virtual) events and workshops, and ensures you have a strong voice at City Hall.

Learn about membership or Donate


Check out Cycle Toronto's: How to Plan Your Bike Route