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ActiveTO Midtown Complete Street Pilot

IBI Group rapidly transformed one of Toronto’s major Midtown arteries, supporting the City’s response to COVID-19. The project dramatically enhanced bicycle and pedestrian use and allowed for outdoor dining along Yonge Street, creating an oasis for residents and businesses navigating life during the pandemic.   

City of Toronto
Toronto, ON
2021 Completed

Creating healthier streets for residents to travel, shop and dine outdoors was an important part of the City of Toronto’s COVID-19 response. The City turned to IBI Group to quickly plan, design and implement the ActiveTO Midtown Complete Street Pilot along a key portion of Yonge Street between Bloor Street and Davisville Avenue. The pilot’s goal was to improve quality of life, health and safety, and business viability during the pandemic.  

Yonge Street is a major arterial running north-south through the heart of Midtown Toronto. The street serves various Business Improvement Areas and neighbourhoods, while meeting demands for transit access, mobility and active transportation connections.  

The transformation of Yonge Street in Midtown included removing one vehicular travel lane in each direction to free space for protected bike lanes, curb lane cafés, parking/loading space and beautification measures. As the City’s Prime Consultant, we carried out extensive stakeholder consultations, reviewed existing conditions, completed a topographic survey, corridor comparison study and safety review and conducted a traffic analysis. We developed and refined the bikeway and road design and provided installation support. We delivered the entire project on an extremely compressed timeline, between January and July 2021.  

The project’s social, economic and environmental benefits include:  

  • Weekday increases in cycling traffic ranging from 65 to 205 per cent  
  • Weekday pedestrian volume increases between 60 and 80 per cent 
  • A high satisfaction level among Yonge Street’s users, with 76 per cent of on-site survey respondents saying they felt that the pilot fulfilled the project goals 
  • Accommodations for on-street CaféTO patios for 19 restaurants, supporting local businesses during the pandemic 

The Midtown Complete Street Pilot on Yonge Street is part of ActiveTO, a suite of programs by the City of Toronto providing spaces for residents to be physically active.

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