The city says Lake Shore Boulevard West will be part of its ActiveTO program this year after all.
The Toronto City Council passed a motion Wednesday that gives city staff the flexibility to close Lake Shore Boulevard West on select weekends while a massive construction is taking place nearby.
City staff said in March the closure on that busy roadway “likely cannot be accommodated in 2021 and 2022” due to construction at the intersection of King Street, Queen Street, and Roncesvalles Avenue.
The work at the intersection, which includes streetcar track replacement, enhancements to streetcar stops, began on April 5 and will continue through to summer 2022.
The return of the Lake Shore Boulevard West closure this year is welcome news as the route between Windermere and Stadium roads was the most utilized corridor in the program last year, attracting an average of 18,000 cyclists and 4,000 pedestrians each weekend.
ActiveTO was introduced in 2020 to provide more space for pedestrians and cyclists amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic-inspired weekend closures allowed many to stay active outside while practicing physical distancing.
The program was only supposed to run in the summer, but the city extended it until the end of October due to its popularity.
The weekend closures also include Lake Shore Boulevard East between Leslie Street and Woodbine Avenue, Bayview Avenue between Rosedale Valley Road and Front Street East, and River Street between Gerrard Street and Bayview Avenue.
The city said the Bayview closure will be expanded south to Mill Street this year.
“ActiveTO has been a successful and popular program that will continue to help us through the pandemic as well as contribute to the future livability of our city. Weekend road closures benefitted thousands of people and families last summer and I look forward to their return this year,” Tory said in a statement.
Council has also approved a motion asking staff to look at expanding the program to other parts of the city, including on Black Creek Drive, Allen Road, and roads within Exhibition place.
There is no specific date on when ActiveTO will return this spring, but the city said staff will determine it based on weather forecasts, construction schedules and other maintenance activities.