While Toronto’s battle against COVID is far from over, Mayor John Tory has announced a new measure that will give residents more space to enjoy the outdoors.
On Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Tory revealed the first details of ActiveTO, the City’s new plan to create more space and allow for physical distancing.
According to Tory, the City is targeting the creation of 50 km of “quiet streets” free of traffic that will focus on pedestrians and cyclists. Tory said the City is also looking at closing main roads near major parks on weekends and speeding up the installation of bike lanes.
During his daily COVID briefing, Tory said the City is changing its message to residents, which is no longer about staying at home but to stay safe while going outside.
Running, walking & biking are all great ways to stay active & travel around during #COVID19, and have many benefits for our physical & mental health. COVID-19 does not spread easily when passing someone quickly on a sidewalk, walking trail or bike path. pic.twitter.com/j1Kd15GQun
— Toronto Public Health (@TOPublicHealth) May 6, 2020
“Torontonians need to be able to use our roads, sidewalks, and outdoor spaces for exercise and recreation while maintaining physical distance. For that to happen, we need to ensure our streets are accessible and safe for all road users,” said City Councillor, Joe Cressy, who says the ActiveTO plan is a “step in the right direction.”
“Simply put, our streets were designed to move cars. Looking ahead, we need to redesign them to move people, and move them safely.”
Cressy said more details and locations will be confirmed shortly.
New York City has taken a similar approach to make more room for social-distancing New Yorkers and has already closed a number of its streets to cars and opened them to pedestrians and cyclists amid the coronavirus crisis.
The city’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, has said his goal is to have 100 miles of open streets before the end of the pandemic.