It’s official - the King Street Transit Pilot is now permanent, and it makes so much sense. This is a major milestone for the City of Toronto.
Toronto city council voted yesterday 22-3 in favour of making the Pilot rules permanent. The boundaries will stay the same, stretching from Bathurst to Jarvis, and where possible the transit shelters will be moved to the far side of the intersection with the stops.
"King Street is the busiest surface transit route in North America and the third busiest transit route overall in Toronto, after our two main subway lines. Today's decision by Council to make this pilot project permanent will ensure we can further build up and improve King Street into the excellent dedicated transit corridor that our city needs,” says Mayor John Tory. “By proceeding with this giant step forward and investing in King Street's future, we are doing the right thing for our residents – especially the 84,000 daily riders who use transit along the street, the right thing for King Street, and the right thing for our city."
During the Pilot, ridership increased almost 17% to 84,000 riders a day. The City says that peak travel times improved from approximately 25 to 20 minutes, while east-west and north-south vehicular traffic on neighbouring streets remained relatively the same.
The City also mentioned making improvements to the street furniture and patio furniture along the corridor. It will be nice to see if some of the curbside public spaces also get more permanent treatments.
"The King Street pilot project has shown us that a more vibrant, connected, and successful downtown is possible. I am glad that Council agrees and I look forward to King Street's future,” says Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 13 Toronto Centre).
At the beginning of the month, New Home Buyers Network President, Sam Reiss, wrote about why the King Street Pilot needed to be permanent. “I can even see property values impacted in a positive way,” said Reiss. “Who wouldn’t want to live on a street that’s transit-oriented, cyclist-friendly, and has some of the best public art, restaurants, and shops in the city?”
People are already drawn to many areas along this section of King. The Entertainment District is one of the most active areas in Toronto when it comes to condo rentals. The fact that the street will now be permanently designed for transit users, cyclists, and pedestrians could be a huge draw for condo buyers and investors.
Now, the question is whether or not it makes sense to extend this concept to other main streetcar arteries in downtown Toronto, like Queen St. and Dundas.