King Street Transit Pilot- Launching November 12th

Earlier this year, our plan for a bold move on King Street was approved by City Council. Work on The King Street Transit Pilot has progressed rapidly since, and the pilot will be launching on November 12.

In the weeks ahead, you will see preparatory work along King Street such as new signage, modified traffic signals, and new paint markings. In the final days leading up to November 12, some lane closures will be necessary at times to install the finishing touches. Every effort is being made to minimize disruption and avoid bad times for this work, such as rush hour or late on a Friday night on King West.

When completed, new turn restrictions will be in place along King Street to limit vehicular access to local traffic only. Cars will still be able to reach every block of King Street in both directions, but commuter through-traffic will not be allowed. There will be no public parking on King Street. Instead, in the middle of each block, curbside space will be dedicated to commercial deliveries, accessible pick up and drop off, general pick up and drop off, taxi stands, and expanded public realm.

The project website has now been updated with a variety of materials to help you navigate the new and improved King Street, including: a helpful map of the corridor to help you figure out how to get where you need to go, an implementation timeline, and more.

To get us to November 12 (weather permitting), here is the implementation timeline available on the project website - much of the work below will be ongoing until the beginning of the pilot:

October 30 – Overhead sign installation begins

November 6 – Installation of new transit shelters at select stops, Curbside sign installation begins, pavement marking installation begins

November 10 – Installation of streetcar stop/public realm elements installation (concrete barriers, planters, tactile strips, and ramps) begins

November 11 – Signal activation

November 12 – Pilot begins

King Street is the busiest surface transit route in the entire City, carrying more than 65,000 riders on a typical weekday. It is a critical downtown spine, connecting neighbourhoods, the largest employment centre in the entire country, and diverse urban forms and uses.

But we recognize that King Street isn't working. Streetcars are often stuck in mixed traffic, making it challenging to keep transit service running smoothly. This often results in bunching and gapping of vehicles, uneven utilization of capacity, streetcar congestion and overcrowded vehicles. During rush hour, people are often unable to board the first streetcar that arrives.

A significant change is needed to improve transit service on this critical artery in our neighbourhoods. Like we're doing in so many other areas – community facilities, new parkland, and more – we must both catch up with growth and plan for the future. The King Street Transit Pilot is our opportunity to do just that.                                                      

The approved design prioritizes transit, but still allows local traffic access. The pilot includes:

  • An area where transit would be prioritized, but local traffic access would still be allowed. Local vehicle traffic can access King Street from north-south streets, but would have to turn right to leave King Street at some intersections.
  • Through traffic would use alternate east-west corridors.  There would be no east-west through traffic at key intersections within the pilot area.
  • Designated space for short-term loading, deliveries, and taxis, as well as new public spaces, would be provided
  • Overnight (10pm-5am) exemption for taxis to facilitate the safe departure of patrons from the Entertainment District (as with all aspects of the study, this will be studied for impact and effectiveness)

To find out more, take a look at this helpful info booklet on the pilot, and stay updated via the project website

If you are have any questions or concerns about the King Street Transit Pilot – both the implementation and the operation – please do not hesitate to bring these to our attention. Changes like this take time to get used to, and there is always the potential with any big change that some wrinkles will need to be ironed out. This will be the first project of its kind in Toronto and we're here to help address any issues that may arise.