City of Toronto Staff Recommend CafeTO Become Permanent – Toronto | The Canadian News

City of Toronto staff have recommended that the CafeTO program, which allows restaurants and bars to have expanded outdoor dining areas, become permanent.

The program was first introduced last year to help restaurants and bars serve customers outdoors amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a press release issued Wednesday, city officials said Toronto Mayor John Tory has endorsed the report, which also recommends waiving program fees next year to provide more emergency support to businesses. .

The release said that this year, the CafeTO program is being used by more than 1,200 restaurants with outdoor street and sidewalk dining areas, including 940 with sidewalk closures.

About 500 Toronto restaurants already have a permanent curbside patio permit, and this year 429 opened a new or expanded sidewalk patio through CafeTO.

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Compared to 2020, registration for the program increased by 51 percent this year, authorities said.

As part of the program, public parklets were installed to increase the amount of public space available in “cafe-saturated cityscapes,” according to the release, with a total of 65 parklets across the city this year.

The staff report recommends that a new registration process be put in place for permanent sidewalk cafes beginning in 2022, which would be “fast and streamlined,” allowing owners to apply once for year-round use.

Existing sidewalk patios at CafeTO may remain in place through April 14.

The report also recommends the return of temporary curb lane closures next year under similar criteria used this year, and a recommendation to have criteria for permanent seasonal use of curb lanes by 2023.

“This approach will help keep the program as flexible as possible to allow for adjustments related to potential changes in the foodservice industry, as well as changes in traffic patterns and street uses as a result of the recovery from the pandemic during the next year, “the statement said.

The report recommends that a number of factors be taken into account, including traffic congestion, road maintenance, and the accessibility of cafes.

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The City also conducted a public survey this summer of restaurant owners, customers, and the public to gather feedback on CafeTO. Out of more than 10,000 responses, 91 percent said they support making sidewalk and sidewalk patios available in the city in the future, according to the statement.

“There is overwhelming enthusiasm for making the program permanent and doing it in a measured way that considers the many potential uses of public space in the future,” said Mayor John Tory.

But not everyone is in favor of CafeTO being permanent.

“Traffic continues to return to pre-COVID levels. As we emerge from the pandemic, we must help the little ones [businesses without] creating a nightmare traffic jam [and] congestion ”, he says. Michael Ford said in a tweet.

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“First ActiveTO, then ‘temporary bike lanes’, now CafeTO. It is time to end these programs once our economy fully reopens. “

The report will be reviewed in the Executive Committee next Wednesday and then by the council on November 9 and 10. Can be found on the city’s website.

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