Making King Street work - King Street Pilot Project moves to City Council

Last week, Executive Committee approved our plan for the King Street Pilot Project  - it now moves on to City Council next week for final approval. 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.

Over the past few years, the City and TTC have recently been making operational changes to improve streetcar service, including: allowing all-door loading (to become more effective with the new low-floor streetcars); adding supplemental buses; extending turning and on-street parking restrictions; optimizing transit stop locations and route running times; adding route supervisors; and improving night service.

But a more 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 Pilot is our opportunity to do just that.                                                      

After multiple public meetings, stakeholder conversations, online surveys and more, City staff have proposed a design that prioritizes transit, but still allows local traffic access. From Bathurst to Jarvis (the worst area of King, as found by the study), the pilot proposes:

  • The proposed pilot area is between Bathurst Street and Jarvis Street, 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.

Throughout the study, extensive consultation has taken place with a variety of community and neighbourhood groups, businesses and BIAs, and other key stakeholders.

The proposed pilot project will be brought to City Council on July 4th seeking authority for implementation. It is proposed that the pilot be installed in Fall 2017, after the Toronto International Film Festival, with additional public space improvements to be implemented in Spring 2018. It is expected the pilot will be a minimum of one year in duration.

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