Corp Comm Connects

Lake Shore Boulevard West closure to be included in this summer’s ActiveTO
April 8, 2021

Lake Shore Boulevard West may be closed to cars after all this summer after city council voted Wednesday to ask city staff to explore options for “full or partial closures” on the roadway “on select weekends.”

As part of the city’s ActiveTO program, Lake Shore between Windermere Avenue and Stadium Road was closed each weekend in the summer of 2020 to allow residents to stay active safely during the pandemic. Other road closures throughout the summer included parts of Lake Shore Boulevard East and Bayview Avenue.

“Many of the key issues that were driving the urgency of this program -- those are still with us today,” said Coun. Brad Bradford in voting for the motion Wednesday. “I don’t think we can overstate the significance and the importance of ActiveTO. It has been a lifeline to residents.”

However, the Lake Shore Boulevard West section will not be able return exactly the same way this year because of a construction project taking place in the area.

Barbara Gray, general manager of transportation services, also said there isn’t enough staff to run the program at the same scale as last year. Staff were previously taken off other duties to work on ActiveTO in 2020, which will not be possible this year, according to Gray.

This year the program will include more communication with individual neighbourhoods to gauge interest in individual wards.

“We really want to engage with communities and councillors who would like to see something on an individual street,” Gray said. “We think it’s going to be a much more successful approach.”

Council also passed a motion Wednesday to consider other ActiveTO closures this summer, including portions of the Allen Road Expressway, Black Creek Drive and roads within Exhibition Place.

When the road closures take place depends on the weather and maintenance schedules.

During Wednesday’s council meeting, Mayor John Tory said, “I’m very proud of ActiveTO,” noting that he is “equally determined” to make something similar permanent in the city.

Council on Wednesday also passed a motion by Coun. Stephen Holyday to look into maintaining access to parking lots along Lake Shore Boulevard West during car closures to “allow all Torontonians the ability to visit the lakefront.”

Originally, staff weren’t recommending repeating closures on Lake Shore Boulevard West because of major road work taking place at the adjacent intersection of King Street, Queen Street and Roncesvalles Avenue. The road work is scheduled to last until August 2022.

But on March 23, at a meeting of the infrastructure and environment committee, councillors approved a motion from chair Jennifer McKelvie asking staff to find ways for limited closures.

ActiveTO first launched in May of 2020 and continued to October 2020. In addtion to the weekend road closures, a total of 65 kilometres of Quiet Streets were introduced in around 30 different locations to create more space for pedestrians and cyclists to be outside while maintaining physical distance. Signage and barricades were used to slow traffic.