TORONTO -- The City of Toronto is transforming some of its major roads into “quiet streets” to provide more space for people to be physically active and improve physical distancing.

Toronto Mayor John Tory told reporters at a news conference on Thursday that the city will soon have 57 kilometres of quiet streets, including in areas like Kensington Market and Havenbrook Boulevard.

“Right now, vehicle and pedestrian traffic are at an all-time low,” Tory said. “Starting right away, our quiets street initiative will see traffic calming measures deployed on local streets across the city.”

The mayor said that some of the closures will begin Thursday, and will continue through the long-weekend.

The “ActiveTO” program, he said, will use signage and temporary barricades at intersections to encourage slow vehicle. Parking and drop off areas are not expected to be impacted. 

The first “quiet street” locations installed Thursday include:

  • Kensington Market (area that borders Nassau Avenue, Spadina Avenue, Augusta Avenue and Dundas Street West).
  • Shaughnessy Boulevard between Van Horne Avenue and Havenbrook Boulevard.
  • Havenbrook Boulevard between Shaughnessy Boulevard and Manorpark Court.

The list of current and planned Quiet Streets is available on the City of Toronto’s website.

“I expect these changes will be popular and city staff are already looking at other sites for more additional quiet streets,” Tory said. “We invite the public and our members of council, of course, to participate in making suggestions.”

The mayor said that some U.S. cities have already taken similar steps, and that Vancouver is also looking to convert more than 50 kilometres of streets into “quiet streets.”

The city will also carry-out a trial run on closing some major roads adjacent to popular recreation trails in order to deal with weekend and holiday crowding. 

The trial run will affect the following major road this long-weekend:

  • All eastbound lanes on Lake Shore Boulevard West between Windermere Avenue to Stadium Road.
  • Bayview Avenue from Mill Street to Rosedale Valley Road.
  • River Street from Gerrard Street East to Bayview Avenue.

“In anticipation of changes in traffic patterns in the coming weeks and months, the mayor and council requested that city staff look at more active transportation as a crucial part of the restart and recovery,” the city said.