November 5, 2020
Councillor James Pasternak, Chair, and Members, Infrastructure and Environment Committee
10th floor, West Tower, City Hall
100 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
RE: IE17.7 Clearing the Path Towards a Safe and Accessible Winter
Dear Councillor James Pasternak, Chair, and Members, Infrastructure and Environment Committee,
City Council and City staff are to be applauded for their efforts to ensure that residents have opportunities for outdoor recreation through the ActiveTO. program. Throughout the spring, summer and fall, people have taken to our outdoor spaces in large numbers to walk, run and bike while remaining physically distant. With the COVID-19 pandemic, walking and biking are more important than ever to physical and mental health, especially for seniors and people living with mobility challenges. As we enter the winter months still in a pandemic, it will be crucial to ensure that these outdoor activities remain safe and accessible for all residents. Ensuring that sidewalks throughout the city are cleared to the same standard is vital for allowing people to get around their neighbourhoods, support local main streets and get fresh air and exercise.
The Toronto Office of Recovery & Rebuild in its report to Council, recommended that Council “consider developing a Winter City Plan to expand winter use of public parks, expand the CaféTO plan and pursue winter solutions for ActiveTO to increase resilience on a year-round basis1.”
IE17.7 recommendations, which are consistent with TORR’s recommendation, and will allow walking, running and cycling to be safe activities for everyone in Toronto throughout the winter months.
FoNTRA supports the recommendations of Councillor Matlow and Councillor Layton:
- City Council direct the General Manager, Transportation Services to provide an update on the Winter Maintenance Program Review that includes, but is not limited to, a plan on harmonizing sidewalk clearing standards for neighbourhoods in Midtown, East York and the downtown core, equipment procurement, and budget impact assessment to the October 6, 2020 Infrastructure and Environment Committee Meeting.
- City Council direct the General Manager, Transportation Services to investigate the appropriate equipment required to clear bike lanes and cycle tracks.
- City Council direct the General Manager, Transportation Services and the General Manager, Parks, Forestry and Recreation to develop a comprehensive snow clearing plan for all paved pedestrian and cycling pathways in Toronto’s parks.
cc: Councillor Josh Matlow
Barbara Gray, General Manager, Transportation Services
Becky Katz, Manager, Pedestrian and Cycling Unit, Transportation Services
Janie Romoff, General Manager, Parks, Forestry & Recreation Division.