Share The Road

Rebalancing Streets


Photo: City of Brampton

With physical distancing requiring us to leave 2m of space between people, it's clear that our standard sidewalks and bike lanes are just not wide enough. As municipalities move to close parks and other public spaces and institute fines to reduce gatherings, space for essential travel and exercise is even more scarce than usual. We are also seeing significant reductions or suspensions of public transit, leaving some workers and residents without reliable transportation to get to work or run essential errands like grocery shopping.

As discussed by Robin Mazumder in a recent HuffPost article, these closures disproportionately affect the poor, those who may not have access to private outdoor space and people for whom a huge fund could be disastrous. Read Robin's full piece online here.

In response to this lack of space, there is a growing movement towards rebalancing streets to provide more space for people to move safely on sidewalks and on bicycles while observing physical distancing. Read our full blog post online here.


Webinar Recordings

We have partnered with The Centre for Active Transportation to host a series of webinars about rebalancing our streets. To date, we have hosted 5 sessions. Recordings of each webinar are available below.


Webinar #1: Making space for physical distancing in Ontario (April 22, 2020)

Click here to view a recording of the webinar.

The conversation included Dr. Anne Harris an Epidemiologist from Ryerson University to share her perspective about the need to provide more space for sidewalks and cycling in order to protect people from both COVID-19 and from traffic injury. Participants also heard from the City of Brampton and Bike Brampton about the interim bike lane that has been implemented on Vodden St to help connect residents to essential destinations and reduce congestion on nearby trails. Although she was unable to participate in the webinar in person, Brampton City Councillor Rowena Santos provided advice for rebalancing streets and a video greeting.



Webinar #2: Making Space: What, Where & How (May 13, 2020)

The webinar included an overview of 5 types of street rebalancing efforts presented by Yvonne Verlinden from TCAT and was followed by a facilitated discussion about specific efforts currently underway across Canada. Panelists included Matthew Sweet from the City of Mississauga, Mike Anderson from the City of New Westminster and Becky Katz from the City of Toronto.
Click here to view a recording of the webinar.


Webinar #3: Making Space: Adapting to Change (May 27th, 2020)

This discussion was about how the transportation sector should be adapting to changes during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery. Participants heard the results of a recent transit user survey conducted in Toronto and engaged with representatives from WSP Canada on topics such as end of trip facilities, managing transit demand and the expansion of outdoor commercial space.

This webinar is presented with generous support from WSP Canada. 


Click here to view a recording of the webinar.


Webinar #4: Making Space: Biking out of the pandemic (June 10th, 2020)

During the pandemic, cities around the world have seen record numbers of people taking to the streets on foot and on bike. Bike sales are booming, car traffic is down, and traffic collisions have plummeted. Amidst this crisis, active transportation is on the rise. Conversations are happening about much needed infrastructure. From quick build bikeways and slow streets to widened pedestrian zones. But what else are we doing to support, encourage and incentivize sustainable mobility? Join us for a conversation exploring what we should be doing now, and what should we be planning for, to ensure that walking and cycling continue to be the most desirable and obvious choice as we emerge from the pandemic. 

The webinar featured a presentation by Jessica Roberts, a principal at Alta Planning + Design who has been a leader in the Active Transportation field for nearly two decades. Jessica directs award-winning programs and projects that help people drive less often, and use active and shared modes more often. Her current research focuses on bringing the findings and methods of behavioral science to benefit the TDM field. She owns five bikes, zero cars, and a ludicrous number of shared mobility apps. Participants also heard from Isooda Niroomand, a School Travel Planner with Green Communities Canada in partnership with Vision Zero Toronto. She has experience working in public, private and non-profit sectors in Canada and in Iran, with a focus on human-centred design.


Click here to view a recording of the webinar.


Webinar #5: Making Space: Global perspectives on pandemic mobility (July 29th, 2020)

Participants in this live webinar heard how communities around the world are making changes to their transportation networks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and how Dutch expertise has informed and supported these changes.

The webinar featured presentations by:
Lior Steinberg, an urban planner and co-founder of Humankind, a multidisciplinary collective accelerating the transition towards urban happiness for all. Lior will discuss interventions and long-term strategies in Tel Aviv where 11 streets have been opened to people, as well as vacation streets and parklets in Rotterdam.
Lennart Nout, a transport planner and urban designer at Mobycon with experience in The Netherlands and New Zealand. Lennart will be presenting highlights of Mobycon’s “Making Safe Space for Cycling in 10 Days”, a guide to temporary bike lanes in Berlin.
Amanda Ngabirano, a professional and passionate urban planner who is “crazy about spatial order, urban mobility and social justice.” Amanda is a lecturer in Urban & Regional Planning at Makerere University and Chairperson of Uganda’s National Physical Planning Board. Amanda will share the experience of Kampala City where only walking and cycling, no cars, are allowed in the central core during the Covid-19 lockdown.

This webinar is presented with generous support from the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Toronto in partnership with the Dutch Cycling Embassy.  

Click here to view a recording of the webinar.


Webinar #6: Making space: Moving beyond rapid response (Wednesday, August 12th)

Join us for a conversation about pandemic mobility, how we can move beyond the initial rapid response phase, and how we can incorporate an equity lens into AT planning. FCM’s COVID-19 Street Rebalancing Guide is meant to be a resource to help communities to temporarily redesign streets to ensure physical and mental health, safety, and well-being.

Brian Patterson, Principal & Active Transportation Planning Leader at Urban Systems, will provide an overview to the guide with a focus on communities who are incorporating a long-term strategy for these quick builds.

Nahomi Amberber, a Research Coordinator at Ryerson University, and 2020 epidemiology intern at TCAT, will then provide a snapshot of her research into whether access to AT infrastructure in Canada is equitable, and address how municipalities can incorporate an equity lens to AT planning, in both the short and long-term.

This webinar was presented with generous support from Urban Systems, in partnership with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). 


Click here to view the webinar recording


For information on our next webinar on rebalancing streets, subscribe to our newsletters (Share the Road and TCAT) and follow us online @STRCycling and @TCATonline.




Check out the COVID-19 Street Rebalancing Guide published by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities:


This Tactical Urbanism Toolkit may also be of interest:


Public Health Implications & Support


Tracking Rebalancing Efforts


Advocacy Resources



Close ×

Subscribe to the Share The Road Newsletter

Join the STR Mailing List :