Back in January, inspired by a Twitter thread that expressed the frustration of getting around the city by foot, my Walk Toronto colleague Dylan Reid suggested that we could 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.
I quickly created a Google map of all locations in the City of Toronto marking such locations. Through a social media campaign led by Walk Toronto, we were quickly able to map over 450 locations where a pathway, sidewalk, or staircase allows a pedestrian to continue their way where motor vehicles are forced to turn around.
Happily, this is about to change.
Yesterday, by a simple show of hands, Toronto City Council approved a motion brought forward by Councillor Paula Fletcher to change that. Councillor Fletcher’s motion was titled “I’m Walking Here.”
The motion, which was amended to strengthen the wording, requests city staff to develop a new signage standard to indicate where “no exit” signage betrays a pedestrian passage, and to begin installing these new signs this year.
The map that I created based on Dylan’s initial suggestion will be used to help identify these locations.
Given the ongoing pandemic, where we are all subjected to yet another lockdown, walking is one of the few permitted ways for each of us to get outside, enjoy the fresh spring air, and get much needed exercise. Knowing where one can walk, especially away from heavy traffic or busy sidewalks and paths, will only help unlock the city for more Torontonians.
I want to thank everyone who submitted locations for the map to Walk Toronto or to myself via Twitter or directly to me on this website. This couldn’t have happened without the help of fellow Torontonians.