Toronto, Ontario Pedestrian Charter

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Toronto, Canada

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Type: Policy

Status: Adopted on 5/21/02

Source File:


Toronto Pedestrian Charter
Walking is the most ancient and universal form of travel. It is also an important form of exercise and recreation. Every personal trip involves walking, alone or in combination with taking public transit, driving or cycling.

A pedestrian is a person moving from place to place, either by foot or by using an assistive mobility device. Pedestrians include residents and visitors to the city of all ages and abilities. In order to travel safely, conveniently, directly and comfortably, they require an urban environment and infrastructure designed to meet their travel needs.

To ensure walking is a safe, comfortable and convenient mode of urban travel, the City of Toronto respects the following principles:

Walking is a free and direct means of accessing local goods, services, community amenities and public transit.

Walking is the only mode of travel that is universally affordable, and allows children and youth, and people with specific medical conditions to travel independently.

Health and Well-being:
Walking is a proven method of promoting personal health and well-being.

Environmental Sustainability:
Walking relies on human power and has negligible environmental impact.

Personal and Community Safety:
An environment in which people feel safe and comfortable walking increases community safety for all.

Community Cohesion and Vitality:
A pedestrian-friendly environment encourages and facilitates social interaction and local economic vitality.

To create an urban environment in all parts of the city that encourages and supports walking, the City of Toronto:

  • upholds the right of pedestrians of all ages and abilities to safe, convenient, direct and comfortable walking conditions;
  • provides a walking environment within the public right-of-way and in public parks that encourages people to walk for travel, exercise and recreation;
  • supports and encourages the planning, design and development of a walking environment in public and private spaces (both exterior and interior) that meets the travel needs of pedestrians;
  • provides and maintains infrastructure that gives pedestrians safe and convenient passage while walking along and crossing streets;
  • ensures that residents’ access to basic community amenities and services does not depend on car ownership or public transit use;
  • sets policies that reduce conflict between pedestrians and other users of the public right-of-way;
  • creates walkable communities by giving high planning priority to compact, human-scale and mixed land use;
  • encourages research and education on the social, economic, environmental and health benefits of walking as a form of travel, exercise and recreation;
  • promotes laws and regulations that respect pedestrians’ particular needs;
  • advocates for improving the provincial and federal regulatory and funding frameworks that affect the City’s ability to improve the pedestrian environment; and
  • works with individual citizens, community groups and agencies, businesses and other levels of government to achieve these goals.

An urban environment that encourages and facilitates walking supports community health, vitality and safety. It will increase use of public transit; decrease car dependence; reduce conflict between vehicles and pedestrians; lead to cleaner air; green public space; and support green tourism. Such an environment creates opportunities for the informal social interaction that is one of the main attributes of a vibrant, liveable city.

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