King Street pilot to launch in November — but not everyone's happy about it
Final design won't allow through car traffic between Bathurst and Jarvis streets
The King Street pilot project is set to overhaul one of the city's busiest streets starting next month.
Expected to launch on Nov. 12, the final design won't allow through car traffic on the stretch of King Street between Bathurst and Jarvis streets — giving priority to the sluggish streetcar route that transports more than 65,000 people every weekday.
- King Street pilot project wins city council approval
- Plan to fix 'horrible' King Street gets mixed reviews from community
It's "not acceptable" that transit riders are often stuck behind cars making left turns, said TTC spokesperson Brad Ross on Wednesday.
But those left turns will soon be a thing of the past, alongside other key changes:
- Vehicles on King Street won't be allowed to drive through the Bathurst Street intersection, and they'll have to turn left or right instead.
- No through traffic will be allowed, except for TTC vehicles, emergency vehicles, bicycles, and road maintenance vehicles.
- No on-street parking will be allowed.
- Taxis will only be allowed through the intersections between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Streetcar stops are changing as well, and will be moved to the far side of the intersection with protected passenger waiting areas in the curb lane.
And for cyclists and patio lovers, there's good news — new public spaces will be created in the curb lane, which could include seating, sidewalk cafes, or bicycle parking.
'It will be very, very hard'
But not everyone's happy about the upcoming changes.
"It will be very, very hard. It makes for lots of turning and circulating around," Uber driver Mahmoud Alozzi told CBC Toronto.
Evelynne Kuzniak, a TTC rider, questioned how it will actually work, and likened it to separate streetcar lanes on St. Clair and Spadina which she said "kills small businesses."
"They may have a hard time enforcing it, car-wise ... It's going to be absolutely hilarious," she added.
Police will monitor key intersections on King Street for the first two weeks to educate drivers and enforce the new rules.
The pilot project is meant to last for a year. During that time, the city will look at the impact on traffic, businesses, and streetcar speed, and will evaluate the project's success after that.
With files from Greg Ross