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Friday, September 25, 2020

A huge portion of Yonge Street in Toronto will be shut down this weekend

As summer comes to a close, so do the road closures for the city's ActiveTO program, meaning that this will be the last weekend major thoroughfares go completely car-free to open up for pedestrian and cyclist use — and one of the biggest ones yet.

This Saturday and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., essentially all of the downtown portion of Bayview Avenue will be closed off, from Front Street East all the way up to Rosedale Valley Road. As in previous weekends, Lake Shore will also be shut from Windermere to Stadium Road.

But the most substantial closure will be of the city's main street, Yonge, which will be off-limits to cars for a massive expanse between the waterfront and Gerrard Street.

Both north and southbound lanes between the Esplanade and Gerrard, and northbound lanes only from Esplanade to Queen's Quay will be reserved exclusively for residents who want to enjoy the outdoors by walking or biking.

Drivers have been quite frustrated with the weekly closures, blaming the program for traffic and car accidents on the Gardiner, which has unfortunately simultaneously been plagued by months of lane closures due to construction as the expressway gets a much-needed facelift.

But, it seems the bulk of residents have only glowing reviews of the initiative, which along with the recent additions of more bike lanes and extended streetside patios have made the city feel a lot more vibrant, Euro and forward-thinking.

Though this summer has likely been the most absurd and stressful one most of us have experienced in our lifetimes for obvious reasons, it has also been memorable in good ways, too, and it's hard to deny that the sweeping changes the city has undergone have been for the better.

And, the City is now looking at extending both ActiveTO and CafeTO into next summer due to their success.

According to city stats, more than 25,000 cyclists and around 10,000 pedestrians took advantage of some of the major street closures over summer weekends, getting out to grab some fresh air and explore their neighbourhoods while having the space to maintain physical distancing and stay safe.

Having more space designed for humans and not for cars has "contributed to overall wellbeing," the city says.

Hopefully, we'll all be able to find alternative ways to get out of our houses and stay sane over the colder months, especially if we end up getting locked down again.

by Becky Robertson via blogTO

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