A street festival that forms part of this year's Toronto International Film Festival has closed a section of King Street West to traffic and forced streetcars on the busy 504 King line to divert around the area.
For TIFF-goers, the closure that began Thursday adds a new attraction this year, with restaurants moving their tables into the pedestrianized street. There's also plenty of fun elements in what TIFF is calling Festival Street (a band stage, a light tunnel, a giant chess board, among others). But the street festival is also the source of considerable disruption and frustration for riders on the 504 King streetcar which, at 60,000 weekday passengers, is one of the city's busiest.
TTC spokesman Brad Ross appeared on CBC Radio's Metro Morning Friday to talk about the closure. He said the TTC had concerns about the closure, which ends Monday. He also said the decision to close King was not made by the TTC.
"The TTC did express some concerns about diverting the King car during a weekday," said Ross. "But we also understand that TIFF is a big and an important event for the city."
As a result, the TTC's 504 King and 508 Lake Shore routes will divert as follows:
- 504 King eastbound: east on King Street West, north on Spadina Avenue., east on Queen Street West. and south on Church Street.
- 504 King westbound: west on King St. E., north on York St., west on Queen St. W. and south on Spadina Ave.
- 508 Lake Shore a.m. rush: east on King St. W., north on Spadina Ave., east on Queen St. W. and south on Church St. to route. Operates westbound on 506 Carlton route.
- 508 Lake Shore p.m. rush: east on King St. W., north on Spadina Ave., east on Queen St. W., south on Church St., west on King St. E., north on York St., west on Queen St. W., south on Spadina Ave. to route.
Ross said he expects many King streetcar riders will use the Queen streetcar, adding to crowding on that line.
"The real message for people is to pack some patience and leave extra time," he said.
Here's what some people were saying on Twitter about the closure:
TIFF = king streetcar nightmares— VIVEK SHRAYA (@vivekshraya) September 3, 2014
Thank you #TIFF for making it so we can't even take the streetcar along King. Next year, don't stop traffic and make us locals hate you more— Scumm Boy (@scumm_boy) September 4, 2014