Cyclists, joggers and cyclists hoping to fly the middle of Lake Shore Boulevard West this summer will have only limited opportunities to do so. The City of Toronto announced Wednesday that, on the recommendation of city staff, ActiveTO road closures on major streets like Lake Shore Boulevard West will be treated as “limited special events.”
These special events, according to the City, will be planned and advertised in advance, rather than operating as a regular recurring weekend event, as has been the case in previous summers.
“We have made tremendous progress in reopening Toronto and that progress will continue,” said Mayor John Tory. “City staff are working to accommodate and balance, as much as possible, all of the major city events that are now back. ActiveTO was a great pandemic program and city staff will work to ensure the program continues where and when possible.
The change comes as City staff detailed in a report the increased traffic that occurs in these areas when streets are closed for ActiveTO. After observing the two ActiveTO road closures that have already occurred in May, staff noted that weekend commute times across the city are 8-10% longer than last summer, and around 20 % longer than in summer 2020.
Traveling east on the Gardiner Expressway from Highway 427 to York Street, for example, takes an average of 21 minutes on non-closing weekend days. But on Monday, May 23, when there was an ActiveTO shutdown, that same trip took 39 minutes.
“Businesses, workplaces and major street events in Toronto have now reopened and residents are returning to pre-COVID-19 activities and travel patterns,” the report said. “Due to the resumption of these activities, major ActiveTO road closures on LSBW conflict with the access needs of neighborhood establishments and scheduled events.”
In a statement, the City noted that Lake Shore Boulevard West is expected to host a large number of events, 10 of which have already taken place so far in 2022 and 250 are planned in the surrounding area this year, many of which will take place on weekends. -ends of summer.
But ActiveTO’s hope for closures is not lost, as the city council has asked staff to consider coordinating closures with other event organizers. Staff were also asked to look into ‘quick start actions’ that would improve facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.
ActiveTO road closures were introduced in the summer of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, providing outdoor recreational space where Torontonians could maintain physical distancing. According to the staff report, the closures on Lake Shore Boulevard West alone saw up to 36,000 people using the roadway daily for biking, and thousands more pedestrians daily. Two years later, the closures remain popular, with 17,000 cyclists and 4,000 pedestrians using the causeway, Martin Goodman Trail and nearby promenade during the Victoria Day closure – more than four times the number of cyclists and 25 % more pedestrians than what was seen, the average, during the previous two days of the long weekend.
Laura has covered real estate in Toronto, New York, Miami and Los Angeles. Before coming to STOREYS as an editor, she worked as an urbanized editor in Toronto for Daily Hive.
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