In an effort to help residents comply with current physical distancing restrictions, the City of Toronto has announced it is launching “CurbTO”, a number of curb lane pedestrian zones that will eventually be located in more than 100 ‘hot spots’ throughout the city.
Several people have put forth the case for the City to close down some streets for pedestrian use, but this plan seems to borrow a few key points from the #ShareTheRight movement, an idea collaboratively developed by transportation engineers (Trans-Plan) and urban planners (Smart Density); namely that road space is utilized for pedestrians, and designated lineup space is used at popular and essential businesses (where more people would tend to be lining up).
According to a release, City staff have worked to identify key hot spots where there are lineups or pinch points on sidewalks that public health and transportation officials have determined need to be addressed to continue to encourage physical distancing and protect overall public health. The second aspect of the CurbTO initiative is to create temporary parking pick-up zones so that drivers and delivery workers can park for up to 10 minutes in close proximity to the desired essential business in otherwise restricted parking areas.
The program will initially target hotspots along 10 busy retail main streets for curb lane installations before expanding to more than 100 locations throughout the city. The first 10 hot spots, already launched today, include:
- Carlton Street and Church Street – Pedestrian zone
- Danforth Avenue and Broadview Avenue – Pedestrian & Parking zones
- Dupont Street and Lansdowne Avenue – Pedestrian zone
- Bay Street and Yorkville Avenue – Parking Zone
- Front Street East and Berkeley Street – Pedestrian & Parking zones
- Gerrard Street East and Parliament Street – Pedestrian zone
- Gerrard Street East and Broadview Avenue – Pedestrian & Parking zones
- King Street West and Spadina Avenue – Parking zone
- Bloor Street West and Bathurst Street – Pedestrian & Parking zones
- Queen Street East and Carlaw Avenue – Pedestrian zone
Mayor Tory issued the following statement around the initiative:
“CurbTO is a common sense initiative which starts with 10 sites right now and will expand to more than 100 locations across the city. This is one more way the City government is working to protect public health and stop the spread of COVID-19. Transportation and mobility in all forms will be key parts of the city’s recovery and restart process. I have 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.”
CurbTO Program Initiatives
- Curb Lane Pedestrian Zones will increase space for pedestrians trying to get around line-ups outside essential businesses and other pinch points as identified by Toronto Public Health and Transportation Services.
- Temporary Parking Pick-Up Zones will provide an opportunity for drivers and delivery agents to expedite medicine and food pick-ups by allowing them to temporarily park for up to 10 minutes in close proximity to the desired essential business in otherwise restricted parking areas.