Two Toronto events that require the shutdown of major city roadways are expected to be up for review by city council this fall.
Etobicoke councillor Stephen Holyday is suggesting that events which traditionally close the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway should move to inner city streets to lessen the impact on traffic.
In the spotlight are Sunday’s Manulife Ride For Heart and July’s Toronto Triathlon, both of which require the shutdown of all or part of both the DVP and Gardiner for 12 hours or more.
LISTEN: Etobicoke councillor Stephen Holyday talks to Global Newsradio 640 Toronto about closures on the DVP and Gardiner Expressway
“I understand there is a coolness factor for closing down the highway, but, at what cost is that for mobility around the city?” Holyday told Global Newsradio 640 Toronto.
“We know that traffic patterns have changed and congestion has reached an all-time high. I think it’s time to think these through in context to 2018.”
The Ride For Heart will shut down both the Gardiner Expressway from Humber River East to the Don Valley Parkway (DVP), while a stretch of the DVP from Lake Shore north to Highway 401 will close between 2 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Holyday believes such closures make those who don’t live in the downtown core feel “more and more isolated” from the inner city since routes to the city are either simply not there anymore due to recent changes in the roadway system, the emergence of more bike lanes and projects like the King Street pilot.
The councillor says he would like to see the events move their courses off major thoroughfares and onto city streets.
“If you move it to a street, you can actually fine tune things in a way to close them in stages and have event staging in parks and it’s far more manageable.”
Organizers for the Ride for Heart say they understand the inconvenience to drivers but say the closures are critical in creating a unique attraction for an estimated 15,000 participants.
Spokesperson Alex Maheux told Global News they want commuters to keep in mind that the closures have a direct connection to the “critical” $6 million they will raise this weekend for life-saving treatments.
“We really do ask that motorists be patient for these few hours as what makes this a huge draw for our participants are the the traffic-free Gardiner and the DVP with iconic views of the CN Tower.”