A car-free King Street could soon be a reality in Toronto

Jan 26 2017, 11:10 pm

King Street is one of the busiest downtown streets during the day.

Traffic is often experienced during rush hour, when cars, streetcars, and pedestrians use the major street to commute.

On a typical weekday, the street carries more than 65,000 riders, according to the City of Toronto.

And now, Toronto’s chief planner has announced a new pilot project for King Street that could possibly eliminate vehicle use on the downtown road.

Initially announced at Toronto’s Green Cities Conference on January 25, chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat proceeded to tweet about the project, which is being led by the City Planning Division, Transportation Services, and the TTC, with the support of many other City Divisions and Agencies, such as the Toronto Parking Authority.

Keesmaat focuses on “transit first” as the project outlines a better use of streetcars on King Street, with no mention of vehicles in the overview of the proposal.

“The City and TTC have recently been making operational changes to improve streetcar service, including: allowing all-door loading (to become more effective with the new low-floor streetcars); adding supplemental buses; extending turning and on-street parking restrictions; optimizing transit stop locations and route running times; adding route supervisors; and improving night service,” states the King Street Pilot website.

“But a more significant change is needed to improve transit service on King Street. The pilot project(s) will test a range of options to determine what might further improve transit reliability, capacity, and efficiency.”

According to the City, the pilot will be looking at different options for King Street that recognize the different neighbourhood contexts along the 6 km corridor from Dufferin Street in the west to River Street in the east.

King Street Pilot/City of Toronto

The King Street Pilot is part of a larger City study for the downtown area called TOcore. TOcore is about creating a downtown that supports outdoor spaces like parks and the public realm, transportation, and community service.

While the plan is still in its earliest stages, Keesmaat said that they hope to launch this fall following a council report in July.

But before all that, there will be a public meeting to discuss the pilot project, since not much more information is currently available.

The King Street Pilot public meeting will be held on Monday, February 13 at 6:30 pm at Metro Hall (55 John Street).

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