Convocation Hall. Jenny Xiao/THE VARSITY

Spotted at U of T: a new blue pedestrian zone marked by white polka dots and separated from oncoming traffic by bollards.

The new zone is part of a larger St. George Campus Master Plan, first announced in 2011, to make U of T more pedestrian-friendly and overall safer. The school will submit a Secondary Plan to the City of Toronto in order to increase pedestrian-only areas on campus and decrease vehicle access and parking.

Vice-president, university operations Scott Mabury, said that throughout the summer months, the university  executed the much needed implementation of pedestrian-only areas in Kings College Circle.

“We wanted to slow cars down, full stop,” he said. “They were moving too fast and was something we needed to end to avoid any incidents.”

Mabury clarified that there was no specific issue that triggered the changes. “We are being proactive,” he explained. “This is not being reactive, there is no incident that prompted this.”

Megan Snider a fourth-year student  studying ecology and evolutionary biology, said that she wishes that U of T had implemented this pedestrian-only area years ago. “It always felt very dangerous,” she said. “So I am glad that it’s a little bit safer for pedestrians.”

She also added that she thinks that this will positively impact the new first-year students’ experience, as they are the ones who have the most classes in Con Hall.

First-year Ananta Whorra, studying Social Sciences, says that she is thankful that Kings College Circle is becoming more pedestrian friendly as she begins her university career. “Absolutely I think that it is a good thing,” she said.  “So many people walk to university and plus there are all those residences there and it was so unsafe for them to let cars go by freely.”

She also noted that it is clearer where she should enter and exit Con Hall as a new student unfamiliar with the area.

Mabury added that the university is committed to making the university campus safer and more accessible for pedestrians, “…so it can function more superbly and excellently for faculty, staff and students for recreation, intramural sports, and for just sitting outside and enjoying the oasis in the centre that is this great green historic part of U of T,” he said.  “It is also the great green oasis to the city of Toronto.”

St. George is a constantly moving campus with walking being the number one mode of transportation. With the success of the other implemented pedestrian-only zones on campus, like the Willcocks Commons, U of T will continue to push for more student safety and accommodation.

U of T has selected four planning teams that will propose their ideas for making U of T a more pedestrian focused space. On September 28 from 6 – 9pm in Con Hall, the entire U of T community is invited to attend this event and provide feedback for which plan they like best.

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