Cars to be banned on portion of Fleet Street downtown starting Monday
Change is part of plan by the city to make Fleet-Bathurst-Lake Shore intersection safer
Heads up, downtown drivers: soon cars and trucks won't be allowed on a portion of Fleet Street, near Bathurst Street and Lakeshore Boulevard West.
Starting on Monday, Fleet Street between Bathurst and Iannuzzi streets will be open to pedestrians and cyclists only. It will be closed to all vehicles.
It's part of the city's Vision Zero plan to reduce traffic-related deaths and serious injuries, which remain a serious concern in Toronto.
"I have been working hard for years to make the Fleet-Bathurst-Lake Shore intersection safer," said city councillor Joe Cressy, who moved a motion at city council in October to make the change a priority.
"[It] doesn't work well for anyone."
As it currently stands, pedestrians who make their way along Bathurst Street must cross Fleet Street and Lakeshore Boulevard — a crossing that the city has deemed to be dangerous.
In a news release, the city says the closure of the 200-metre portion of Fleet Street will "not only improve road safety, but it will also normalize the irregular and often confusing intersection."
"The five-arm intersection is dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists, confusing for drivers and delays two streetcar lines," the news release says.
Once vehicles are banned, the city says crossing distances for pedestrians will be reduced, and vehicle turns will be "much less complex."
The city says this change will also reduce transit delays for the 509 and 511 streetcars — part of a long-term plan to reconfigure Waterfront transit.
What drivers need to know
In addition to the new closure, right turns from southbound Bathurst Street to westbound Lake Shore Boulevard will be prohibited, but drivers will still be allowed to go straight or turn left.
Drivers heading southbound on Bathurst Street to the Fort York area will still have complete access to all blocks and properties.
Work to make the change will take place overnight starting late Sunday evening and it is expected to finish early Monday before the morning commute.
Following the closure of the block, the city says it will monitor whether or not the changes are working.
Cressy says the city also has plans for the "beautification" of the area, which could include the addition of public art, seating and landscaping.