A recent story in the Toronto Star deems the King Street Pilot project a success based on data provided so far. We’re inclined to agree because we have staff living on King St. in the Pilot area, and they feel that the general vibe of the street has improved.
The $1.5 million project restricts car use and access on King St. between Bathurst and Jarvis. There were also streetside public spaces created, and even street murals at the King and Church streetcar stops.
King St. was a hassle for everyone; transit riders sat in traffic, motorists inched along next to packed streetcars, and cyclists avoided the street all together. The Pilot made King St. a gathering place, it engaged the arts community, it got people moving, encouraged more transit users, and made it safer for cyclists.
It’s now been a year since the Pilot launched. July and August data is available, and September and October data will be released soon. According to the latest data, transit ridership is up 11% to 80,000 boardings a day. When the Pilot launched, there were approximately 65,000 riders a day.
Cyclist volume jumped 440% during the afternoon commute in July, and pedestrian traffic increased at a similar rate. According to the data, customer spending only increased 0.3% in the Pilot area in the first six months. Some restaurant owners are claiming a drop in business due to the lack of parking near their restaurants.
So, what does this all mean for Toronto real estate? If the Pilot regulations were to be made permanent, do you think it would negatively or positively impact housing prices in the area?
We’re leaning towards a positive impact because the only people living in the area who probably aren’t enjoying the Pilot are the people who drive to work every day, and we feel like this number has to be lower than the amount of people walking, taking transit, and biking to work.
If you live somewhere like King and Peter or King and Church, and you’re going down to your parking garage every day in order to get in your car and drive along King to your place of business, then in our opinion, you’re doing it wrong.
There are definitely people who live downtown but work outside of the core, and many of them probably drive out of the city every day. But, if this is the case, they’re likely turning off King as soon as possible in order to access the Gardiner, or they’re headed north.
The King Street Pilot is an innovative approach to a unique stretch of downtown Toronto. The evidence seems to be there to justify making the regulations permanent, but we’ll have to wait to see what the new council decides. A decision is expected around the end of the year.