ActiveTO has supporters and critics but seems to be here to stay

‘While I realize some councilors would support closing major roads every weekend and some would never close any roads, I do support trying to find a balance and working to ensure we have fun events in our city ​​so that people can enjoy it and people can continue to move around the city on foot, by bike, by public transport and by car” — Mayor of Toronto, John Tory

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There is no doubt that Torontonians have mixed feelings about the Active TO program.

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Some are big supporters, while others just want him to go away. However, it looks like Active TO is here to stay.

It started in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to give pedestrians, runners and cyclists a space to exercise and hang out while social distancing.

It initially included closures of sections of Lake Shore Boulevard, Bayview Avenue, as well as High Park Roads. The initiative was scaled down in 2021, with Lake Shore Blvd. W. not used as much.

Well, it’s back.

Major 2022 Active TO road closures began May 21, including Bayview Ave., from Rosedale Valley Rd. to Lawrence Harris Square; River Street, between Bayview Avenue and Spruce Street; and The Meadoway, from Brimley Rd. to Scarborough Golf Club Road. from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (on the 22nd). This year, the Lake Shore closure only occurred on Victoria Day Monday in the eastbound lanes.

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Closures this weekend included the eastbound lanes of Lake Shore Blvd., between Windermere Ave. and Stadium Rd., Sunday.

There has been some grumbling on social media, particularly regarding the impact on drivers when Lake Shore is partially closed (Lake Shore W. is not currently part of ActiveTO due to ongoing construction).

Advisors Stephen Holyday, Michael Ford and Mark Grimes are among the critics who said ActiveTO causes too much congestion and is not needed after the pandemic.

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Still, Mayor John Tory is a strong supporter, as are some other councillors.

Last Wednesday, Councilman Mike Layton (University-Rosedale) asked staff for a report on other ActiveTO closures on Lake Shore Boulevard. W. later this summer which will be discussed at City Council in June.

A survey released by the city in January 2021 showed support for expanding Active TO closures post-pandemic and Tory sees the current setup as a solid compromise that best serves the citizens of Toronto.

“We have made tremendous progress in the face of the pandemic and the reopening of Toronto. Major in-person events are back in our city and people are coming in and out of Toronto a lot more,” Tory told the Toronto Sun.

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