City of Toronto, Ontario
City of Toronto Walking Strategy
The City of Toronto has adopted a strategy to become a city where people choose to walk more and drive less. The city’s goal is transform its streets, public spaces and neighborhoods into a great walking city, and to integrate these spaces with public transit, cycling and other sustainable modes of travel.
The city’s walking strategy reflects the results of a series of consultations with residents, external organizations and city divisions and agencies, and a survey of 1,000 residents. The strategy is expected to help cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, reduce pollution and congestion, improve transportation efficiency, and reduce the city’s infrastructure and road maintenance costs.
Improving conditions for walking will promote a healthier population; improve access to workplaces, shops and services; and help revitalize neighbourhoods and local business districts. The city aims to strengthen Torontonians’ sense of community by putting more “eyes on the street’ and by creating more shared public spaces and opportunities for social interaction and recreation. It will also enable residents of all ages, abilities and economic means to enjoy a high quality of life and be able to walk safely and comfortably in their communities.
- The city is pilot testing pedestrian-only streets, intersections featuring “No Right Turns on Red,” intersections with leading pedestrian interval signals, and has already added a number of pedestrian priority intersections.
- A new searchable “walks” database enables residents to plan their walking routes.
- Regulatory and operational changes to accommodate timed pedestrian-only areas support Pedestrian Sundays in Kensington Market.
- A Car-Free weekend has been introduced on St. Clair Avenue West.
- A pedometer lending program has been launched.
- Coordinated street furniture has helped to remove impediments on sidewalks.
- Building a more walkable Toronto will contribute significantly toward achieving the city’s Climate Change, Clean Air and Sustainable Energy Action Plan GHG emission reduction targets of six per cent by 2012, 30 per cent by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050.
- A 2008 study among those working downtown found that 58 per cent walked to work, up from 44 per cent; cycling doubled, from two to four per cent; and only six per cent of downtown residents drove to work, down from 16 per cent, all in comparison to 2001 figures.