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Long-term Urban Road Restrictions During Special Events


Numerous special events and festivals (i.e. Celebrate Yonge, BuskerFest, Summer in the Village,
etc.) occur annually throughout the City of Toronto, notably within the downtown core, to
provide enhanced and extended pedestrian realms (which is a desirable urban condition since
pedestrian needs and movements are significantly higher than vehicular movements in the
downtown urban core area). These events create a desirable attraction for additional walking and
cycling traffic (active modes of transportation); however, there is the need for partial or full road
closures along arterial road networks to accommodate these events. This results in displaced
vehicular traffic as ambient traffic patterns are required to detour along alternate adjacent routes.
In order to facilitate the implementation of these public realm enhancement projects, a
transportation program was developed to plan, implement, and monitor the impacts of these
projects. This was especially important given the emphasis on multi-modal and sustainable
transportation planning wherein transportation planning must address all vehicular, cycling and
pedestrian travel modes.
To quantify the magnitude of the impacts in traffic patterns during these special events, turning
movement traffic counts (TMCs) were conducted during Friday AM and PM peak periods for
pre-event and during-event conditions along the road network within the study area. TMCs
included separate counts for vehicles, cyclists, and crossing pedestrians.
Screenline and link analysis was undertaken to review the vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian
volumes to determine if there were notable changes in the traffic patterns along the closed road
and in the study area as a result of the event and the resultant lane reductions or full road closure.
Additionally, a Traffic Management Plan (TMP) was prepared detailing the temporary detour
route, and pavement marking and signage plan. Development of the TMP took into
consideration the impacts of how loading/delivery service, waste management, and emergency
vehicles would be accommodated, along with providing for thematic delineation and protective
barriers (such as planters, and Muskoka granite armour stone, respectively) between the
enhanced pedestrian zones and the vehicular travel lanes.
Post-event documentation was prepared to summarize the overall transportation program,
identify impacts and lessons learned, and to be used as a tool for planning future long-term
seasonal and permanent (full or partial) road closure events. A key element of the documentation
was the framework to re-allocate future right-of-way space from an auto-oriented configuration
to better reflect the pedestrian usage of the area in a new balanced mix of travel mode space.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Special Event & Incident Management Case Studies and Best Practices
Phillips, K.
Nguyen, T.