Avenue Road Walkabout – February 15, 2022

On a chilly Tuesday afternoon in February, the Avenue Road Safety Coalition walked the walk. We were pleased that Councillors Matlow and Layton and staff braved the cold to join us as we hosted the Avenue Road Study project team, including the consulting road design experts from Parsons Inc. on a fact-finding walk along Avenue Road from Bloor Street to St Clair Avenue.

Coalition members lead councillors, City staff and consultants on a walk of discovery along this 2 kilometre stretch that is presently a high speed six-lane expressway, unsafe and hostile to pedestrians and cyclists with dangerous substandard sidewalks. The ARSC’s extensive local knowledge of safety issues and on-going development activity and associated change on Avenue Road will inform their perspectives as they begin their work on the “Avenue Road Feasibility Study and Tactical Plan” process. The goal of the study is to determine how to allocate Avenue Road space for all its users – pedestrians, bikes and cars – and what tactical interventions might be taken while waiting for a future Avenue Road reconstruction.

Avenue Road north of Cottingham
North of Cottingham, the Avenue Road northbound curb lane was closed off (we are unsure why) – and one can see the salt showing that it is unused. Traffic has been managing quite well, despite this closure.

In the spring of 2022, City of Toronto’s Transportation Services Staff will be organizing a series of community consultations to gather opinions and information from all road users. The current 6-lane design, that is unique to this 2 kilometre section of Avenue Road cannot continue, as there is not enough sidewalk space nor enough safety in general for vulnerable road users and car-users alike.

The Avenue Road Safety Coalition would like to thank all their members and supporting organizations for their input. Henry Wiercinski, Annex Residents Association and other members of the ABC Residents Association and Deer Park Residents Group provided their extensive knowledge and highlighted the inherent issues with this section of Avenue Road, with key information such as local histories, serious injury and deaths statistics, traffic patterns, and danger zones. Discussions ranged from concerns of developers encroaching on pedestrian spaces, to safety issues with heavy snowfall, traffic issues (speeding and aggressive driving), to the immediate tactical interventions that can be implemented upon the completion of the Avenue Road Feasibility Study. The team from the City and Parsons took extensive notes.

A highlight of the trip was a short visit with Brother Domenic Viggiani, President of De La Salle College “Oaklands” to learn about the unique history and connection between the college and Avenue Road.

The safety walk was one of the first in-person stakeholder engagement meetings the Councillors and staff have undertaken since COVID-19 restrictions have loosened to allow for some outdoor small group meetings. The ARSC would like to thank Councillors Matlow and Layton and City staff for their continued efforts in making Avenue Road a safer place for all.

The Avenue Road Feasibility Study portal is now live on the City’s website.

ARSC would like to receive your comments and your lived experiences on Avenue Road – please email us!