Infrastructure changes?

The LRA wrote to the Mayor and City Councillors on Sunday, April 26, expressing support for making more space available for pedestrian and cycling use. The LRA cited Eglinton Avenue between Bayview Avenue and Laird Drive as a stretch of road where automobile speeds urgently need to be reduced.

The Mayor’s office responded on Tuesday, April 28, regarding recent measures taken citywide and, with respect to lane closures, stated as follows:

The advice the Mayor continues to receive from Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa is that full road closures or multi-block lane closures at this time should not be contemplated. She believes the City has to be focused during this key time on encouraging people to stay home as much as possible to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Notwithstanding this response, the LRA will continue to work for traffic calming efforts throughout Leaside, and supports measures to promote active forms of transportation such as walking and cycling.

For reference, please see below for the full text of the letter and the response from the Mayor’s office. The streets that the City intends to reallocate for pedestrian use in the first instance, as part of its CurbTO initiative, are listed in this Toronto Star article.


April 26, 2020

TO: Mayor John Tory and City Council

RE: Infrastructure Changes for a safer city

I am writing on behalf of the Leaside Residents Association in support of the April 17, 2020 letter sent to the City by the Federation of North Toronto Residents’ Association, regarding implementing infrastructure measures to create safer physical distancing.

We ask you to consider making more space available for pedestrian and cycling use, in both this current COVID-19 period and beyond these immediate circumstances.

Even before the pandemic, high traffic speed and insufficient pedestrian space and cycling routes have been key safety concerns, citywide. The current situation gives Toronto an opportunity to look for ways of addressing and correcting those safety that will help the City better achieve its Vision Zero goal.

Measures such [as] reducing traffic lanes on arterials should be identified (One local instance: the stretch of Eglinton Avenue between Bayview Avenue and Laird Drive has become a race track because the pandemic reduced automobile volume). Closing the curb lanes here would make both social distancing while walking, and cycling much safer.

As well, City properties which can be safely converted into additional pedestrian use should be made available, then retained after the pandemic, adding to the quality of life across the city.

The LRA urges you to support, identify and implement such infrastructure changes, for the long-term benefit of Toronto.

Thank you for your consideration,

Carol Burtin Fripp,
Co-Chair, LRA


From: Mayor Tory <Mayor_Tory@toronto.ca>
Subject: RE: LRA Infrastructure letter (26 April 2020)
Date: April 28, 2020 at 12:07:48 PM EDT
To: ‘Carol Burtin Fripp’

Hello,

Thank you for taking the time to write to the Office of the Mayor.

Mayor Tory is focused on doing everything we can as a municipal government to make life better right now as we work to keep everyone healthy and save lives.

As part of the ongoing response to COVID-19, the Mayor launched CurbTO, a program developed by Toronto Public Health and Transportation Services to encourage physical distancing in areas where lineups are unavoidable and other hot spots.

CurbTO will also increase access to temporary parking opportunities for quick food and essential medicine pick-ups and deliveries which are at an all-time high as residents work to respect Toronto Public Health guidelines.

This common sense initiative is being activated in a measured way based on evidence so that physical distancing accommodations – including closing portions of the curb lane for pedestrians – are concentrated in areas where there is a clear need. CurbTO is starting with 10 sites right now and will expand to more than 100 locations across the City where there is sidewalk crowding and temporary parking concerns around essential businesses and community services which are still open and serving vital community needs.

More information on CurbTO can be found here: https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-economic-support-recovery-for-businesses/covid-19-business-resources/

The advice the Mayor continues to receive from Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa is that full road closures or multi-block lane closures at this time should not be contemplated. She believes the City has to be focused during this key time on encouraging people to stay home as much as possible to stop the spread of COVID-19.

That doesn’t mean the COVID recovery plan won’t include much more in the way of transportation options and how we will safely and effectively navigate our city in a post-pandemic Toronto.

Mayor Tory does believe that transportation and mobility in all forms will be key parts of the city’s recovery and restart process. The Mayor has made it clear to Toronto Public Health and Transportation Services that we want those options fully examined and included where appropriate as we implement the plan to reopen our city once we have reached the appropriate thresholds with respect to the virus itself.

Thank you for taking the time to reach out to the Mayor and the Mayor’s office.

Sincerely,

Farnaz Patel
Mayor’s Administration
416.397.CITY(2489)