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Pedestrian-only Bloor Street proposal up for debate Wednesday

A proposal to make Bloor Street pedestrian-only for four days this summer will be up for debate by the city’s economic committee on Wednesday.

If approved, it will go before city council in May.

Mayor Rob Ford has already said he is against the proposal, which is being championed by Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam. Coun. Ana Bailao is also backing the proposal.

However, neither Wong-Tam nor Bailao are on the executive committee. Ford is, though he is no longer the chair.

Open Streets TO would see 11 kilometres of roadway shut down for four Sundays in a row starting July 27 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

If the proposal goes through, Bloor Street would be closed from High Park to Withrow Park at Carlaw Street as well as both Yonge Street and Church Street from Bloor Street south to Queen Street. See a map of the proposed route. Major intersections would experience a “soft close,” which would allow north-south traffic to pass through.

A similar idea takes place over the summer in Kensington Market where streets are shut down to vehicle traffic from noon to 7 p.m. for pedestrian Sundays, which happens every last Sunday, from May until and including October.

The Open Streets initiative have been successful in such major cities as San Francisco, Portland and New York City.

With files from Christine Chubb