'I'm walking here': City of Toronto to revamp hundreds of 'No Exit' signs that mislead walkers

·2 min read
Walk Toronto co-founder Dylan Reid stands by a 'No Exit' sign on a Riverdale street that actually does have an exit — if you're a pedestrian. (Mike Smee/CBC - image credit)
Walk Toronto co-founder Dylan Reid stands by a 'No Exit' sign on a Riverdale street that actually does have an exit — if you're a pedestrian. (Mike Smee/CBC - image credit)

The city is getting ready to revamp hundreds of street signs that walking advocates say are misleading.

"No Exit" signs, erected as warnings for drivers, often do not apply to pedestrians, according to Coun. Paula Fletcher, whose motion titled "I'm Walking Here" was approved at this week's council meeting.

"I think during COVID people have been walking like they've never walked before," said Fletcher, who represents Ward 30, Toronto-Danforth.

"So let's just update things for the city we are, which is a walking city, a cycling city and, as you can see, a driving city."

Her motion called on the city to identify those "No Exit" streets that in fact are pedestrian thoroughfares, and change the signage to something more accurate, like "No Exit Pedestrians Excepted," Fletcher said.

The idea came after Walk Toronto compiled a crowd-sourced map that has so far identified about 450 such dead end streets and cul-de-sacs that fail to point out pedestrians can exit.

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Dylan Reid, a founder of Walk Toronto, said he wanted to find a way to publicly identify pedestrian exits on dead end streets and brought the idea to Walk Toronto co-founder Sean Marshall, a map maker.

"We asked people for examples and they poured in." he said. "I asked Sean if he was up for doing it and he was totally keen."

The interactive map on the group's website identifies the locations of streets with pedestrian exits. It also points out which ones are paved walkways, which are rough trails, and which can also be used by cyclists.

Coun. Paula Fletcher, who represents Ward 30, Toronto-Danforth, wrote the motion that passed at city council on Thursday. It calls on staff to revamp 'No Exit' signs on streets that include pedestrian thoroughfares.
Coun. Paula Fletcher, who represents Ward 30, Toronto-Danforth, wrote the motion that passed at city council on Thursday. It calls on staff to revamp 'No Exit' signs on streets that include pedestrian thoroughfares. (Keith Whelan/CBC)

"Many of these locations are neighbourhood 'secrets' known only to residents who walk there every day, but hidden to anyone who is not as intimately familiar to the area," Fletcher's motion reads.

"Finding a simple solution will make our City more pedestrian friendly, accessible, and welcoming."

The city has identified "thousands" of "No Exit" streets.

"City staff expect to replace signs at approximately 400 locations where pedestrians exits have been identified," a city spokesperson said in an email.

"That work is expected to start at the end of April."