Fixing Avenue Road

SpacingTORONTO: The car wins on Avenue Road. It always does.

The pattern of valuing the convenience of drivers over everything else has been fixed since 1959, when the city chopped down trees and dramatically narrowed sidewalks to create six traffic lanes from St. Clair Avenue West to Bloor Street West so as to funnel cars quickly to the downtown.

Sixty years later, that’s the Avenue Road we still have on that 2.1-kilometre stretch between St. Clair and Bloor. It operates as a virtual expressway – a de facto Spadina Expressway. Pre-pandemic, it carried 30,000 vehicles a day – 85 per cent of them travelling above the posted speed limit – and it makes life deeply unpleasant for pedestrians and cyclists brave enough to try to use it.