This month, the ActiveTO event in Parkdale-High Park was effectively cancelled. The event allowed cyclists, joggers and pedestrians to use Lakeshore Boulevard on Sundays in the summer and was sometimes enjoyed by more than 30,000 on a single day.
So why isn’t it happening this year?
Because the local councilor wasn’t focused on finding solutions.
Concerns about increased car traffic and longer drives into the city were used as justification to cancel the event, despite its popularity and the availability of workable solutions.
In the case of ActiveTO, the local councillor should have fought to protect an event in this riding and found a way to make it work for drivers too. So what could have been done?
- ActiveTO could have been moved to the westbound lanes of Lakeshore Boulevard so that car traffic into the city was maintained along the eastbound routes along with access to waterfront parking, clubs and amenities.
- The events could have taken place between 6am and noon, reopening to car traffic in the afternoon when more events are happening downtown.
- The local councillor could have better managed construction on the Queensway and Roncesvalles, so that a parallel corridor and important streetcar route weren’t closed endlessly, trapping people in the southwest corner of the ward.
- The local councillor could have pushed for a system to more quickly clear accidents on the Gardiner. The biggest recorded travel time delay during an ActiveTO event was caused by an accident on the Gardiner, not by bikes on Lakeshore.
- We could have long ago ensured that the Martin Goodman Trail was expanded for increased cycling and waterfront enjoyment, so that ActiveTO closures didn’t feel so necessary to begin with.
We don’t cancel the Cherry Blossoms or Pride or Women’s Marches or Raptors games because of concerns they might increase traffic – we acknowledge that these are important city events and work to manage their impacts.
I’m tired of how easily we say ‘No, it can’t be done.’ This is our happiness at stake, this is people looking for moments of joy and safe outdoor enjoyment in their city. We should be pulling out all the stops and working hard to manage through these issues so that Active TO can work for everyone.