Weekly Pedestrian Sundays in Kensington Market Still a “Maybe”
Community consultations will determine whether plan for car-free Sundays has legs.
Torontonians love their Pedestrian Sundays, and while the prospect of having them more often is exciting, it seems patience is the name of the game. A Toronto Star article published Monday about the possibility of Kensington Market becoming a permanent car-free zone each Sunday was premature, according to Kensington Market BIA coordinator Yvonne Bambrick.
“The piece is putting the cart before the horse,” she tweeted. “Kensington biz & resident community consultation coming up soon.”
Talk of permanent weekly pedestrianization of the iconic neighbourhood comes on the heels of two similar developments on the Ryerson and University of Toronto campuses, where the placement of planters that can be set and removed as needed control traffic. This type of boundary-setting would also be used in Kensington Market, should plans for more-frequent Pedestrian Sundays move forward. While the logistics of quickly transforming the market from a car-friendly to car-free zone have been discussed, it’s uncertain whether that will happen more frequently in the future.
The Kensington Market community wrapped an eighth season of its hugely popular Pedestrian Sunday street festivals on Halloween weekend. The event, which takes place the last Sunday of each month from May to October, sees the market gated off to motorized traffic until nightfall, replacing automotive chugs with vendors and street performers. The monthly festivities draw substantial crowds.
Fiona Chapman, the City’s manager of Pedestrian Projects, has been in contact with community members about the possibility of moving forward with a more permanent car-free setup in Kensington Market. “We met with the BIA representatives, and also with the community and the local councillor at a public meeting,” she told Torontoist, adding: “I am very respectful of the community’s need to consult further, and look forward to their response.”
We also spoke with Janet Lo, a project officer in the same City department, about what the next steps might be and whether city council would need to approve the proposal. Lo isn’t directly involved in this project but said that council’s involvement is dependent on what exactly is proposed.
The issue remains on the table, but for the time being, nothing is certain. Bambrick says the community will meet again soon for further discussion. In the meantime, we wait.