Usage and Public Support for Pandemic-Time Street Reallocation Projects in Three Canadian Urban Centres

University and College Travel for Students with Mobility Impairment(s) in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, Canada
January 24, 2021
Dundas BeforeDundas After

Pictured Above: Dundas Street in Toronto, Ontario was one of many streets whose curb lanes were reallocated for cafés/outdoor dining areas. This report explores several other types of street allocations, such as new bicycle lanes/paths, lane closures for active transportation, and quiet/slow streets that discourage through automobile traffic.

Authors: Raktim Mitra, Meghan Winters, Kevin Manaugh, Paul M. Hess

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, municipalities have implemented a variety of street reallocation measures. We explore the use and public support for new bicycle lanes/ paths, street closures, slow/quiet streets, and street cafés/patios in three major Canadian urban areas- Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, using data from an online survey of 2,078 adults. Between 45% and 55% of respondents have used the reallocated street spaces since March 2020. A large proportion (45% to 56% respondents depending on the type of street reallocation) thought that the number of projects in their communities were “just the right amount,” and a small proportion of people (17% to 32%) opposed their future maintenance or enhancement.

This study is part of a larger research program titled “Active Transportation Planning and Travel Behaviour Change in Post- COVID-19 Canada,” which is a collaboration between researchers from Ryerson University, University of Toronto, McGill University and Simon Fraser University. The Centre for Active Transportation (Toronto), Vivre en Ville (Montreal) and Hub Cycling (Vancouver) are contributing as community collaborators. The study is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).