2023 May 11
Today, Toronto City Council endorsed a phased strategy to improve how pedestrians, bicycles and drivers access and move around High Park. Council also endorsed the continued closure of High Park to vehicles on Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays and a long-term strategy for closing the full park to vehicles.
The approved High Park Movement Strategy (HPMS) will now initiate travel network improvements in High Park based on findings from extensive research and analysis, including traffic and parking studies and feedback gathered through a multi-phase engagement process that reached more than 10,000 participants.
The strategy outlines major steps to reduce the volume and impact of visitor vehicles while also responding to the need for motorized travel to continue for some park users, acknowledging the limitations of current transit and shuttle services. Highlights of the strategy approved by City Council include:
- Permanent closure of West Road and portions of Colborne Lodge Drive seven days a week, providing over 1.7 kilometres of new car-free space for park users.
- Car-free weekends throughout the park. Access to the Spring Road parking lot will remain.
- Enhancements to transit and a new shuttle service serving the park’s interior destinations.
- Changes to parking, including the addition of accessible and family-priority spaces and exploration of paid parking.
- Improvements to cycling infrastructure, including separated bike lanes in some areas and a recreational cycling pilot to test dedicated, early morning cycling hours in partnership with cycling groups.
- Re-naturalization opportunities and public realm enhancements, including sidewalk widening, improved pedestrian crossing areas and wayfinding and signage improvements.
The strategy will be implemented in phases, starting this summer. The first stage of work will include new pavement markings and temporary traffic control measures, such as barriers and signage, to indicate changes to the travel network.
Subsequent improvements, including permanent changes to physical infrastructure, will require detailed design work, costing and funding approval. Infrastructure improvements will align with environmental policies that protect High Park’s ecological integrity.
Proposed changes will be communicated to park users before implementation, with additional public engagement as design work is undertaken.
Since March 2020, roads in High Park have been closed to visitor vehicles on weekends and holidays. These closures were initially implemented to provide park visitors with space to safely physically distance during the pandemic and have been maintained while the HPMS consultations were underway.
The HPMS was launched in 2021 to explore improvements to the park’s existing travel network to better serve park users and the surrounding community. The strategy aims to improve safety, accessibility and the park’s natural environment. Improvements focus on existing paved roads, sidewalks and parking lots.
Staff recommend further road closures be explored once the approved strategy is fully implemented and measures to address accessibility and operational needs are met, including transit and shuttle service improvements into the park.
The High Park Movement Strategy Council decision is available on the City’s website.
More information about the High Park Movement Strategy is on the City’s project webpage.