This fall, students, staff and faculty at Ryerson University and the University of Toronto will have more outdoor public spaces to enjoy. This week, the City began implementing its Pedestrian Zone Pilot Project, which will close four streets to vehicles and instead install planters, tables and chairs.
The pilot project includes four locations, two each at Ryerson University and the University of Toronto, St. George Campus. On the Ryerson Campus, Gould Street will be closed to vehicular traffic between O’Keefe Lane and Bond Street and Victoria Street will be closed near Gould Street. At the University of Toronto, Willcocks Street will be closed between Huron and St. George Streets and Devonshire will be closed between Hoskin and Bloor Streets.
The pilot project received its first boost last September when the Toronto and East York Community Council directed Transportation Services to work with the universities. The project was approved this year to run from August 23, 2010-September 30, 2011. Implementation began this week and is scheduled to be completed in the next couple of weeks.
According to an article in the Toronto Star, “Total cost of materials [at the Victoria, Gould and Willcocks locations] is less than $100,000, which makes this just about the cheapest form of urban revitalization going.”
Toronto now joins cities around the world that have been pedestrianizing streets to improve the public realm and the safety of their streets. Last year, New York City made headlines when it closed Times Square to vehicular traffic.
According to Christopher Hume, this project “…affirms Toronto’s growing understanding that streets aren’t just a way to get from A to B, but destinations in their own right.”