My Thoughts on the King Street Transit Pilot

As you've likely heard by now, they've implemented the King Street Transit Pilot between Bathurst Street and Jarvis Street. Rules are in place to prioritize streetcar traffic and to prevent private vehicles from driving through this stretch of King.

I don't currently drive on King Street, nor do I take the streetcar there, but this is what I know. King Street is the busiest surface transit route in the city, moving more than 65,000 riders on an average weekday. The tweets I've seen from some of these 65,000 riders has been overwhelmingly positive. Commute times have been dramatically reduced and streetcars are just cruising.

king streetcar

The 20,000 vehicles who use King Street each day have and will find alternate routes. Perhaps some of these drivers will leave the car at home and take the streetcar now that it's faster, less crowded and better spaced. Common sense suggests it's far easier to move the 20,000 vehicles than the 65,000 people on streetcars.

If you used to drive KIng Street along this stretch, I'd love to hear from you in the comments. And if you're one of the 65,000 who ride a King streetcar, please let me know how things have improved.

From where I sit, this looks like it will be a tremendous success.


Share this entry

Comments (21 - click here to join in!)

bsmntdwllr73

@Mike
I take this route regularly and although I haven't used it since the implementation of this
new pilot program, at least as a very frustrated transit user, I think that it is a good step in
the right direction. Frankly, I'm more concerned with the over-crowding and long wait times.
Also quite confused about the endless news stories regarding ridership being down: Where?
at Bessarion, Rosedale and Old Mill stations?!? With all the fuss and ado about the new subway
expansion to York University country and beyond, can't help but feel that us downtown folks
have been mightily screwed over (again!) in the process!

November 14, 2017 @ 10:06 AM

Brian

I knew what your thoughts would be from the post title.
Its only been a Sunday and holiday Monday. Let's see what the next couple of weeks bring.

November 14, 2017 @ 12:45 PM

Mark H

When I first moved to Etobicoke from Montreal about 12 years ago I started taking the 504 because the stop was 10 seconds from my apartment. I lasted all of two months before the brutal trips home took its toll. 90 minute commutes, delayed street cars and no assurances that a car would have space took its toll.

Transit underdeveloped or underfunded is just wasted money all around. It will only work if you can get that subsection of people who do not necessarily need to rely on transit to take it and leave their cars at home. To do that you need to give people some certainties specifically on time. I think this is a solid first step.

November 14, 2017 @ 1:32 PM

Barry

I haven't been down there yet, but I've heard it's been fantastic from a transit standpoint. That's to be expected, I suppose. It's been difficult for drivers, though that, too, is to be expected in the early days as people get used to the change.

The pilot lasts a year; we'll have a better chance to evaluate it many months down the road. In the early days of the Bloor bike lanes, drivers were whining about that, too, but it's turned out to work pretty well. The King pilot is more dramatic, of course.

November 14, 2017 @ 1:38 PM

GDB

They should just make King Street for streetcars and cyclists only and eliminate the bike lanes on Adelaide and Richmond so car traffic can move a bit quicker east and west. I think this would satisfy both cars and bikes and streetcars. This half-in approach in King Street seems silly to me.

November 14, 2017 @ 1:42 PM

H.o.E.

Even on some Saturday afternoons past Dufferin or farther west, often the streetcar is no faster than walking, so I would think this must be an improvement, since it would be difficult to get much worse.
I've never understood all those people who still insist on driving into the downtown core every day. The only explanation I can think of must be that they like complaining about being stuck in gridlock.

November 14, 2017 @ 2:58 PM

markosaar

@GDB,

They should just make King Street for streetcars and cyclists only and eliminate the bike lanes on Adelaide and Richmond so car traffic can move a bit quicker east and west. I think this would satisfy both cars and bikes and streetcars.
That doesn't sound like a good idea because it doesn't account for pedestrians. Bike lanes on Richmond & Adelaide help calm those roads. One even got hit this morning at Richmond & Duncan. November 14, 2017 @ 3:18 PM

markosaar

One pedestrian got hit this morning, to be clear. Bad copy & paste editing on my part.

November 14, 2017 @ 3:19 PM

James Edgar

OMG It's a WAR on the car. You leftist bastards!


JK I thought somebody had to say it! I actually heard that on 640 while i was spinning the dial in the car on the way home yesterday.

I work north of the 401 so I don't have to drive or transit downtown much at all. It sounds like a great idea to me though.

November 14, 2017 @ 4:17 PM

markosaar

https://twitter.com/NEWSTALK1010/status/930433059891109889

Woman in 20s has serious injuries after being hit in a car at Richmond/Duncan. Driver tells NEWSTALK 1010 she never saw the woman but heard a scream and realized what she'd done. Driver says she'd been trying to avoid King St because of pilot project

Great mind at work.

November 14, 2017 @ 4:26 PM

Daniel

@GDB my thoughts exactly

Have King street be for streetcars and bikes. Its horrible for cars anyways, so I'm not sure why anybody would take it

Leave Richmond and Adelaide 4 lanes for cars, no parking at any time. a true thoroughfare

Actually the best way is to make King & Queen 1 way each. Streetcars on the right, bike lane, 2 car lanes with parking.

Markossar
that makes no sense. how would having bike lanes make cars drive slower? if anything cars drive more aggressively to get around the traffic. Also bringing up a pedestrian hit while the bike lanes are intact...sort of negates your whole point

November 14, 2017 @ 4:57 PM

markosaar

@Daniel,

Richmond/Adelaide are now office and residential space: loads of pedestrians. No one wants a thoroughfare there.

The point of the pedestrian being hit was separate and twofold: 1. idiot driver blaming her inattention on something that has nothing to do with anything, 2. we need to do better.

November 14, 2017 @ 5:33 PM

Daniel


Thousands of motorists disagree with you

There are offices and residential areas in both Markham and Mississauga. You can prevent pedestrian injuries without banning cars

Also bicycles injure pedestrians as well

You need to address multiple forms of transportation. It only makes sense if you make king for bicyclists and streetcars that you make Adelaide and Richmond for cars and buses

November 14, 2017 @ 8:13 PM

Rick C in Oakville

Since the closing of the York Bay exit, King was my route to get downtown when I needed to go downtown for customer calls. Dreading my next trip down, will probably go further north to Bloor or College street. I like the one way street ideas for King and Queen, since Richmond and Adelaide do not go far enough west to get traffic out of the core.
Wonder how this is going to affect businesses like the Mirvish Theaters, and Roy Thompson Hall, plus the many restaurants along this route that depended on patrons parking on King street.
Deliveries are going to be a night mare also.

November 14, 2017 @ 10:05 PM

Luigi

@Rick C in Oakville

I was downtown on Sunday at Princess of Wales Theatre and the only real impact I saw was that Front St took the brunt of the traffic that would've normally been on King and was a horrible option for motorists. Don't know about Queen St, but Richmond and Adelaide were no better or worse than usual and the foot traffic near the theatres and restaurants in the area was about the same as it always is during a Sunday afternoon performance. The streetcars on King moved pretty well, though.

November 15, 2017 @ 8:19 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Rick C in Oakville

According to Brad Ross's recent tweet, "Theatre & dinner goers: only 3% of area parking on King was on-street. Lots of parking nearby. Drop off, pick up still allowed. Or take TTC!"

November 15, 2017 @ 10:26 AM

Anonymous

@Rick C in Oakville

Be careful of Bloor Street as there are bike lanes from Avenue Road west to just west of Christie.

November 15, 2017 @ 4:20 PM

WCI

Toronto needs a transit plan like Vancouver does. While Vancouverites whine about shit the reality is they're very lucky. The Skytrain and Translink blows what Toronto has going on. It's a regional wide system and there is a gas tax. That's why you pay $1.40 a litre.

Toronto has too long been a city without vision. It seems locked in the past, stuck in classic political ideology. Either it's raging left wingers like Jack Layton or idiot right wing types like Rob Ford. It's like FM radio. The whole mentality never made it past the 80's. Go out west and you have an NDP that's pro oil sands or a Green Party in BC that wants to keep tolls on bridges. It's at least fresh thinking. Toronto has none of that. It's the same old thing. It's like giving away trips to Cuba on the morning show. Case in point? A train to the airport that costs like 12 bucks one way. The Skytrain in Vancouver goes to the airport. In Calgary, a city express bus goes to the airport. A C train is planned.

Coming from Alberta and BC, Toronto looks as backward as they get. And you all thought backward people lived in Red Deer.

November 15, 2017 @ 8:26 PM

Gary M

The King St. project is a great idea and I'm told it has sped up the streetcars considerably. To those who say waits and crowding are the real problem: the faster speeds will help with both of those issues.

And to those who say they should ban everything but streetcars and cyclists: not possible. Businesses need access for deliveries.

November 15, 2017 @ 11:44 PM

H.o.E.

Since a much-needed downtown relief line may still be years or decades away
(because I suppose Mayor Mel's Sheppard subway and extending the Spadina/Downsview line into Vaughan were inexplicably such great priorities? -- not to mention feeding even more people onto the already overcrowded Yonge line),
is there any way some kind of surface route could devised to act as a substitute relief-line during rush hours? Could express buses be given their own rush hour lanes along one U-shaped route that goes from a Bloor West subway station, through downtown, and then to a Danforth line station?

November 20, 2017 @ 11:52 AM

bsmntdwllr73

@H.o.E.
Great and logical suggestion, but I think that the terms logic and TTC/Metorlinx
are currently incongruous with one another!! I've always believed that maybe if the
powers that be at these companies actually used public transit outside of their
occasional photo ops, they might have a little more understanding and compassion
for the public's ever-growing frustrations.

November 20, 2017 @ 12:35 PM

Leave a comment


Only 21 comments? C'mon, we can do better... Leave a comment above and let's keep this conversation going!


« Why Didn't Roy Halladay End Up Working With Blue Jays Minor Leaguers? Toronto Mike'd Podcast Episode 281: Paul Romanuk »