Last week, the Newinhomes.com team attended the public meeting unveiling the details for the King Street Pilot. The project aims to move people more efficiently on King Street between Jarvis and Bathurst, improve the public realm, and increase support for business and economic prosperity.
The City is focusing on this section of King Street because it is the third busiest and one of the slowest transit routes in the city. More than 65,000 people ride this TTC route every weekday, while only 20,000 cars use the road. Most days, it’s quicker to walk if you only have a few stops to travel.
Moving people more efficiently
The streetcar stops are being moved to the other side of the intersection, after the lights. There will be a “physical bump-out” in the lane, where TTC patrons can safely wait for the streetcar. There will be a physical barrier, so cars will not be able to drive by the streetcar’s open doors. This will also make room on the sidewalks because groups of riders will not crowd the pedestrian thoroughfare.
There will be no east-west through traffic for cars. Upon entering King Street, cars will have to turn right at the next intersection. Only transit, cyclists, police, fire trucks, and EMS will be allowed to travel through.
Improve public space
There will be new public curbside spaces, featuring seating, planters, patios, and bike parking. The streetcar stops will also feature the 2016 NXT City Prize winner, Streetcar Safety Murals, contributing to the beautification of the streetscape.
With the TTC riders waiting in a designated area off the sidewalk and more curbside space designated for pedestrian use, there are more opportunities for programming and public activations.
Supporting business and economic prosperity
Right now, there are no designated areas for deliveries, loading, or taxis. The King Street Pilot will determine if having designated curbside areas for these things will improve transit efficiency and better serve the businesses in the area.
There will also be no on-street parking. Some people at the public meeting were concerned about this, but the fact is, only 3% of surface parking in this neighbourhood is on King Street. Most businesses and restaurants rely more on foot traffic and transit riders.
The main concern for the King Street Pilot
Out of all the concerns raised at the public meeting, the most popular one was regarding the potential of increased congestion on the north-south streets and on Wellington and Adelaide (the east-west streets to the south and north of King, respectively).
With 20,000 cars travelling on King between Jarvis and Bathurst on a daily basis, the concerns seemed legitimate. The King Street Pilot committee explained that many of the people in cars are travelling locally, so improved transit may encourage them to leave their car at home. The committee also said that the parallel corridors have “sufficient capacity to handle the dispersed traffic.”
Via City of Toronto
When is the King Street Pilot being implemented?
Right now, the project is in Phase 2, evaluating and selecting preferred pilots. The public meeting requested input from attendees, which will be considered when the design stage is reached (Phase 3).
Upcoming milestones include a TTC board meeting, a city council meeting, and the undertaking of a public education awareness program. If all goes according to plan and the Pilot is approved, implementation will commence this fall. The rollout will likely be phased in, so you don’t have to worry about all of King between Jarvis and Bathurst completely transforming overnight.