One of Toronto’s most popular parks could see a big change
Toronto’s parks became more popular than ever during the closures, and people took advantage of car-free weekends at one of the city’s most famous parks.
High Park in Toronto banned cars altogether during the cherry blossom season of 2020, but then decided to close the park only on weekends, much to the chagrin of those who valued the safety of the car-free zone.
High Park is closed to cars on weekends. The road closure begins Friday evening around 11 p.m. and ends Monday morning around 7 a.m. A limited number of street parking spaces are available on Bloor Street.https://t.co/9ZBI7JNeE4 #HighPark pic.twitter.com/7xudxZcsIO
– City of Toronto PFR (@TorontoPFR) September 18, 2021
Currently, the park closes to traffic at 11 p.m. on Friday evening and opens around 7 a.m. on Monday. People driving in High Park should find on-street parking.
The closures have seen more people walking or cycling to work, according to Statistics Canada. And while gyms were closed, going out to a park was one of the only ways to exercise.
Now that the gyms are open and more cars are back on the road, High Park could resume allowing vehicles seven days a week.
It is a concern of Walk up to that encourages people to express themselves.
Did you enjoy the car-free weekends at High Park? Complete this survey to let the City know. https://t.co/TzxeTttJlR
– Walk in Toronto (@Walk_TO) September 30, 2021
“Did you enjoy the car-free weekends at High Park?” ” they posted. “Complete this survey to inform the City. “
The investigation is part of a study “aimed at improving the transportation network to better serve park users and the surrounding community, by prioritizing safety and accessibility while preserving the park’s ecological integrity.”
The weekend closures were in response to the pandemic to give people more space to physically move away and they will be assessed as part of the study.
“These closures have sparked a wider conversation within the community about possible options to improve travel to, from and within the park,” the survey reads.
It seems that at least some people take advantage of carless parking on weekends.
Thoroughly. No hassle to keep High Park car free on the weekends (you know, it’s a park and everything). https://t.co/cWLbHmqCJ6
– Alex Mather (@AlexDRMather) October 1, 2021
“Please fill in this and keep High Park free of cars,” one person tweeted.
The study process appears to be long – a “preferred solution for improving the long-term travel network” is expected to be completed by summer 2022 and no changes will be made until 2023.
But the city also says the study will explore interim solutions that could be delivered in the short term.