Want to ease traffic? Hold fewer events in downtown core, John Tory says

To help alleviate traffic, John Tory will tell organizations wanting to hold events downtown to go elsewhere.

Mayor says there is an overabundance of events downtown

To help alleviate traffic, John Tory will tell organizations wanting to hold events downtown to go elsewhere.

It's part of his ongoing battle against congestion in the city. He said shutting down streets and transit downtown doesn't make sense, given there are many places to hold events in Toronto.

The subject has been a sensitive one, as former mayor Rob Ford found out when he suggested events like marathons and races should be held in parks and not on city streets. He faced a major backlash, something Tory is ready for.

"Someone will have to move their walk or run or event," said the mayor. "I'm prepared to take the heat for that."

While he called it ridiculous to run around a park "400 times" for a marathon, he said three separate marathons can't take place on the same street in the same month. "The public understands they can't have it both ways," he said.

Tory pointed out he went to an event at Mel Lastman Square in North York and remarked how easy it was to get to and from it, both on transit and in cars.

He made the comments in his traffic management working group.

Part of that committee is taking stock of construction closures. Tory said he is working on that issue specifically, pointing to his decision to speed up the construction on the western deck of the Gardiner Expressway.

As for private developers closing roadways for construction of condos or commercial buildings, Tory said that there must be a financial incentive for them to finish faster — an idea borrowed from his former rival Olivia Chow during the election campaign.

"Olivia Chow was right," Tory conceded.

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