City of Toronto launches CurbTO plan to address more than 100 hot spots

27-Apr-2020

Today, Mayor John Tory today announced a new program developed by Toronto Public Health and Transportation Services to help the City's ongoing efforts to protect public health and save lives.

Although pedestrian traffic has dropped dramatically across the city as people follow public health advice to stay home as much as possible there are hot spots on some sidewalks in some areas. Over the last several weeks, Toronto Public Health, Transportation Services, and Toronto Police have been working with the Mayor's office and Councillors' offices on a common sense approach to these hot spots that will help further encourage physical distancing in areas where it is challenging due to lineups for essential businesses.

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. While this work will continue, the City will be rolling out fixes at an initial 10 spots across the city starting today.

The program will initially target hotspots along 10 busy retail main streets for curb lane installations, including:

1. Carlton Street and Church Street – Pedestrian zone 2. Danforth Avenue and Broadview Avenue – Pedestrian & Parking zones 3. Dupont Street and Lansdowne Avenue – Pedestrian zone 4. Bay Street and Yorkville Avenue – Parking Zone 5. Front Street East and Berkeley Street – Pedestrian & Parking zones 6. Gerrard Street East and Parliament Street – Pedestrian zone 7. Gerrard Street East and Broadview Avenue – Pedestrian & Parking zones 8. King Street West and Spadina Avenue – Parking zone 9. Bloor Street West and Bathurst Street – Pedestrian & Parking zones 10. Queen Street East and Carlaw Avenue – Pedestrian zone

Primarily the hot spots are where there is sidewalk crowding and temporary parking concerns around essential businesses. Grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants/bars and community agencies are increasingly offering pick-up, take-out and delivery services and have created store access queues to maintain physical distancing requirements as recommended by Toronto Public Health.

This initiative – which will expand to more than 100 locations across the city - is one more way the City government is working to protect public health and stop the spread of COVID-19.

CurbTO Program Initiatives

1. 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.

2. 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.

Both initiatives will use signs to identify the temporary conditions, as well as provide signs for operators who would like to remind patrons to maintain appropriate physical distancing while waiting in line.

Each location will have unique conditions that will be assessed carefully by Toronto Public Health and Transportation Services staff to develop the most appropriate solution. In some cases, city staff may be able to suggest line-up configurations to the business operator that alleviates crowding concerns. In other cases, a temporary curb lane closure may be the most effective response.

The message from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health remains the same: The best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 is for residents to stay home unless they need essentials such as food or medication. However, the City recognizes that there are challenges in allowing for appropriate physical distancing outside some essential businesses and community agencies, and many are now offering new or increased delivery and pickup services that require nearby temporary parking options.

Businesses can apply and learn more about eligibility criteria and program guidelines at toronto.ca/covid19BusinessTO.

Quotes:

“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. - Mayor John Tory

“As everyone comes together to help protect public health and save lives, it’s important we continue to look for creative ways to use the space we have to support physical distancing in a way that aligns with the clear direction of the Medical Officer of Health. While transportation and mobility will play an important role in planning to eventually restart the city, using curb space outside essential businesses now can help keep residents safe.” - Councillor James Pasternak (Ward 6 York Centre), Chair of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee

“Thank you to Toronto Public Health and our Chief Medical Officer for taking steps to address the concerns of our residents, community groups and business owners. Everyone is trying to do the right thing by keeping their physical distance but it’s difficult on narrow sidewalks. Making more room on our sidewalks around busy essential businesses and services will help to keep our neighbourhoods safer.” - Councillor Paula Fletcher (Ward 14 Toronto-Danforth)

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