People are building a map that helps pedestrians in Toronto navigate No Exit streets

Toronto’s ‘No Exit’ signs are not to be trusted—not if you’re a pedestrian, anyway.

Meant specifically for cars, these yellow traffic signs scattered across the city might mislead some travelling by foot to think that cul-de-sacs and dead ends are all that wait beyond. 

But there are accessible alleyways and sidewalks on the other side waiting to be explored, you just have to know where to look. 

Toronto’s pedestrian advocacy group is helping walkers and, in some cases, cyclists, dodge those tricky ‘No Exit’ signs with a new crowdsourced map

So far, there are more than 60 non-dead ends have been identified on Walk Toronto’s map, and the number is growing. 

Blue icons mark where pedestrians can exit, and green means that cyclists can too. Exits with stairs have their own markers, to warn about accessibility challenges. Users can submit by tweeting or e-mailing the group. 

According to Walk Toronto, the prevalence of these misleading ‘No Exit’ signs exposes Toronto’s “car-centric transportation planning.” 

“Everyone’s walking around their neighbourhood a lot more now. We’re seeing things more detailed than we used to and realizing all the incongruities,” says Walk Toronto’s steering committee member Dylan Reid.  

The idea for the map was inspired by a Toronto resident’s encounter with a misleading ‘No Exit’ sign this past fall that led to discovering an entirely new part of their neighbourhood. 

The solution is simple, says the group: new signs saying ‘Pedestrians Excepted’ or ‘No Exit for Motor Vehicles’ signs could easily replace the generic ‘No Exit’ sign. Walk Toronto says it’s just the first step in a larger campaign for more inclusive signage citywide.

“The next step will be to talk to a councillor, Paul Fletcher has been supportive, and hopefully move from there,” says Reid. “We need to change the city so that it’s not just about cars and drivers.”

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