In spring 2020, the City of Toronto launched ActiveTO, a set of programs to support the City’s restart and recovery response to COVID-19. On weekends between May and October 2020, Toronto closed portions of Lake Shore Boulevard East and West, Bayview Avenue and Yonge Street to give people more space to walk and cycle safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Centre for Active Transportation (TCAT) at Clean Air Partnership, in collaboration with Park People, assisted the City of Toronto with the evaluation of this initiative by conducting intercept surveys at two locations. The study was designed to understand the user perspective of the ActiveTO Major Road Closures, with particular attention to physical activity and to the project goal of increasing safe and equitable access to active modes of transportation.
Over 350 people completed the survey. Here are the key findings:
- Two thirds of people reported being more active, thanks to the weekend road closures.
- Almost everyone agreed that the added space helped them maintain physical distancing.
- Most people using the weekend road closure came from the immediate neighbourhood.
- Over a quarter (29%) of cyclists using the weekend road closures were new to cycling or had cycled in the past and re-started this year.
- New cyclists and those returning to cycling in 2020 included a greater proportion of women and people identifying as Black, Indigenous or a person of colour (BIPOC). However, overall, cyclists who identify as BIPOC, women, have low income, or are older adults were under-represented.
- There is high support for continuing the closures, both during and after COVID-19.
- For people using them, the closures were mostly issue-free.
Read the full report: ActiveTO Major Road Closures: Intercept Survey Evaluation Report (also included within the City’s ActiveTO – Lessons Learned from 2020 and Next Steps for 2021 report.)