Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford scoffs at closing Bloor St. on Sunday

TORONTO - Mayor Rob Ford slammed the brakes on the idea of closing a stretch of Bloor St. on Sundays this summer.

"It will be chaos," Ford predicted Tuesday. "Bloor is busy as it is. (Traffic) is either going to go north into people's backyards or south into people's backyards. I cannot support that."

Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam has been advocating the idea of closing a swath of Bloor St. to car traffic on behalf of Open Street TO. The four Sunday morning closures - which would still allow some traffic through major intersections - is meant to allow residents to use the road as paved parks for a variety of activities.

But Ford said he couldn't support the idea because traffic has to keep "flowing in this city."

"If people want to do their yoga we have tonnes of parks or whatever the purpose was of closing the streets I cannot support that," he said. "We need our streets open … I cannot support shutting streets down for pedestrians for four Sundays in a row or whatever it was."

A report going to the city's economic development committee next week says there is "general support" from the city's divisions and agencies for the event but also "serious concerns."

The report includes a map of the proposed 14.8 km route that would stretch along Bloor St. from High Park to Withrow Park and include Yonge St., Church St. and Queen St. East.

Toronto Police estimated they would require an additional $209,773.30 per event day to cover the costs of the road closures alone.

The Toronto Police report goes on to say the event in the proposed configuration is "logistically, operationally, and functionally impossible to achieve or support on the basis of extraordinary staffing requirements that far exceed capacity."
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