Taking back the streets: Open Streets takes Toronto

toronto is open
CC BY 2.0 Lloyd Alter

Rob Ford's head must be exploding. Here it is, Sunday morning at eight o'clock, when people should be in bed nursing their hangovers or driving home from the booze can down the wide empty streets, which is the way streets should be on a Sunday morning in Toronto, and is the way the streets always have been. Really, close them down for....yoga? Rob told the Sun:

“I’ve never been in favour of Open (Streets) Toronto,” Ford said shortly after he met with city staff about the event. “We have parks for people to walk, for exercise, to do yoga. You don’t have to close down a major street to walk, do yoga — that’s for parks.

Open streets chalkLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0
Instead, the streets are full of....PEOPLE! There's little Ginny, playing with chalk in the middle of Canada's Main Street, AKA Yonge Street! It's Open Streets, an idea that started in Bogota and spread to New York City, Guadalajara and now Toronto. Being Toronto, they didn't do a full day and closed it off at noon, which is a bit early. But it certainly was fun while it lasted. The basic idea:

tai chiLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

People traffic replaces car traffic, and the streets become “paved parks” where people of all ages, abilities,and social, economic, and ethnic backgrounds can come out and improve their health.

Holt renfrewsLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

Everybody seems to be having a good time. Even Holts, clothier to the 1%, dives in and gets occupied.

museum in backgroundLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

Daniel Libeskind's crystal looks good for a change, in the background of people dancing in the streets.

yonge streetLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

That's Snøhetta's new building at Ryerson University on the left.

kid on bykeLloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

A lot of people are against the idea of closing down streets just so that people can have fun. I doubt they are the same ones who complain when the Indy race closes off major traffic routes. So far as I can tell, this didn't inconvenience too many people (It is Sunday morning, and all the major cross streets were open) And it made a lot of people happy. They should do this every year, everywhere.

Taking back the streets: Open Streets takes Toronto
It ended too early but it sure was fun while it lasted.

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