Last week, Dylan Reid and I, both co-founders of Walk Toronto, decided to create an inventory of all instances in the city where “No Exit” signs do not apply to all road users. Though these signs are required under traffic codes and regulations, they do not reflect that in many cases, there is an exit for pedestrians. Some of those offer through passage for cyclists as well. We were inspired by a Twitter thread that expressed the frustration of getting around the city by foot, where signage is designed entirely for motorists.
Instances where pedestrians or cyclists may continue past a “No Exit” sign include traffic calming measures meant to keep out through motor vehicles on once-continuous roads. The intersection of Earl Place, Earl Street, and Huntley Street is just one example: curbs and bollards restrict motorists from continuing through, though a narrow passage allows cyclists to continue past; sidewalks also allow through pedestrian movement.
In many other cases, suburban street designs, such as cul-de-sacs, limit vehicular movement though residential subdivisions, but narrow public walkways allow pedestrians access to parklands and neighbouring streets. In other cases, changes in grade between streets allow for a staircase, but not a through roadway down a steep hill. These are common in the Swansea, Baby Point, Silverthorn, and East Toronto neighbourhoods.
As of January 30, 2021, I have mapped over 250 misleading “No Exit” signs throughout the City of Toronto, though I know there are many more. Please send them to me via Twitter or via a direct message, and I will be sure to add your submission.
Our goal is to convince the City of Toronto to add signage recognizing where pedestrians and cyclists do have an exit. Perhaps too, this might inspire you to get outside, and walk around the neighbourhood, checking out passageways you might have not known about.