As Toronto considers banning cars on all — or some — High Park roads, one option appears to be gaining momentum
City staff looks likely to stop short of a complete ban on cars, with a final report expected in the spring.
This is a classic Toronto story.
Do tons of outreach and community engagement. It goes great!
They get a ton of responses and the vast majority are from people who live close by and use the park regularly, they've totally hit their targets.
Good job, city staff!
The results show that a vast majority of respondents want to remove cars from the park.
- Most people who responded are from immediately beside the park or the greater surrounding west end neighbourhoods.
- Most people use something other than a car to visit the park.
- Most people come on the weekends when cars are already prohibited.
- 60%+ of respondents were either neutral or supported completely removing cars from the park.
- 70+% of respondents were strongly against the park open to cars all the time.
Even vulnerable road users (disabilities, seniors, small kids) support Strategy 1 more than Strategies 2, 3, or 4. [Edit: In my white hot rage, I misread this. Seniors don't like 1]
The only people who don't like Strategy 1 are people who currently use cars to access the park, which seems obvious.
So what are we getting?
The city seems to be leaning towards strategy 3, which is the worst of all possibilities, aka The Toronto Way™.
ideally, if they keep car-free weekends like they have had for a couple of years now, the hybrid option is decent, if car-free weekends get removed then this is a horrible decision
however, if car-free weekends do get removed, this would be my solution Access to the 3 parking lots inside the park, but the loop and hill are closed
so the main area where people visit is still car-free, but the park has parking
Fucking automobile apologists in the comment. Y'all should be ashamed for defending cars in a fucking PARK
I would highly prefer an entirely car-free park as a regular park goer. It's so much safer and more enjoyable park all around.
I feel like the disability aspect is a fairly simple thing to get around. We temporarily allow mobility buses from TTC and cars with disability marking inside only until a more accessible trackless train can be provided. Ideally a free train. Done.
If car people had it their way there would be a parking spot at their picnic table and another at the washrooms.
Keep cars out. Remove parking on Parkside. Add a parking lot somewhere so that people can access the park who don't live close and support the people who do park on Parkside now. Plus add a roundabout at the main entrance for people with mobility issues and so parents can drop and pick kids up from soccer, baseball, etc
Once done ideally they replace the road and sidewalk with a wider path without curbs. Obviously Adding a bike lane in.
Until then, keep car free weekends!
Edit: spelling mistakes corrected
You can show your support for a Car-Free High Park by signing the petition here: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/sign-the-petition-to-make-high-park-car-free
And by sending an email here: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/send-an-email-to-make-high-park-car-free
Both are very quick and easy to do, and there is even a pre-written message you can use for your email if you prefer.
The park does not need cars. TTC should always be a preferred option for people living far from park. Park your car outside park and then walk-in if you can’t take subway. People with wheelchairs should have access to high park street without car for the accessibility.
City staff examined four options: banning cars at all times; allowing them at scheduled times; closing some roads to traffic; and allowing cars throughout the park at all times.
Staff have not made a final recommendation, and a city spokesperson said they’re still examining all options. But according to a Feb. 2 city presentation shared with stakeholders, Strategy 3, closing only some roads to traffic, is the one being advanced.
A 2022 city-commissioned survey of more than 10,000 respondents found the car-free option, Strategy 1, was the most popular, with 57 per cent expressing support or strong support.
The survey also found the most common way residents accessed the park was on foot, followed by cycling or other nonmotorized device, and private vehicle in third.
Under the version of Strategy 3 detailed in the presentation, cars would be prohibited on West Road and Colborne Lodge Drive between the Grenadier Cafe and the Children’s Garden.
Centre Road would be converted into a one-way westbound, while traffic would continue to be permitted northbound on Colborne Lodge Drive north of the cafe.
Sarah Doucette, co-chair of Friends of High Park Zoo, broadly supports the city’s approach. She said banning cars would be fine for young, able-bodied people, but would render the park inaccessible to older residents and those with disabilities who can’t walk long distances to get to the cafe, zoo or outdoor theatre.
Amenities including the High Park theatre are a bit far from the entrance for people with mobility issues (elderly, people with disabilities, small kids etc). Hopefully they will have a way to help them get around the park.
Smoke from forest fires affecting air quality over stretch of Ontario: weather office
Gyms, restaurants, cinemas can reopen as Ontario enters Step 3 of COVID-19 reopening
Ontario's new top doctor 'very sorry' for pandemic's negative impacts
Ontario had no plan to address pandemic or protect residents in long-term care, final commission report says
'A fierce activist, loving mother': Peel Region nurse dies after contracting COVID-19