The City of Toronto has evaluated its King Street Transit Pilot, and is recommending to operate it permanently.
According to a new report issued by the city, it is recommending “that King Street continue to operate as a Transit Priority Corridor between Bathurst Street and Jarvis Street.”
The report states that the neighbourhoods along King Street have experienced tremendous growth in the past ten years, and will continue to grow in the future.
“King Street is also a key destination for culture, heritage, entertainment, and retail. The 504 King streetcar is the busiest surface transit corridor in the entire city and now moves more than 84,000 riders on an average weekday,” it reads.
The City report says the pilot resulted in faster and more predictable transit times, more people taking transit, along with improved efficiency and reliability of streetcar operations.
It also says that more people are now cycling on King, but that customer spending in the neighbourhoods has slightly decreased (0.8%) after the pilot was installed, with reductions primarily affecting the restaurant sector.
“This was in keeping with trends that existed before the pilot was installed,” states the report.
But overall, the City said that the King Street Transit Pilot “has demonstrated, relatively quickly and cost-effectively, its ability to move people more efficiently on transit without compromising the broader transportation road network.”
The report will be considered by Executive Committee on April 9, followed by City Council on April 16.
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Back in November 2018, on the one year anniversary of the project’s launch, a study revealed the pilot has improved travelling down King Street for pedestrians, cyclists and transit riders. Because of this, city staff at the time recommended that Council make the transit pilot permanent.
A report that was presented at City Council in December that included a robust monitoring and evaluation program, and a wide range of data that was collected both before and during the pilot to assess the impacts and benefits and inform the final evaluation for Council’s consideration.
With that, a comprehensive evaluation report on the pilot was set to be brought forward to the Executive Committee and TTC Board in the first quarter of 2019 to decide if the project would become permanent.
The report indicated that the funding required to operate and maintain the King Street Transit Pilot until July 31, 2019 was expected to be approximately $210,000. Staff say that this funding is needed for anticipated expenses for signage and pavement markings, traffic signal maintenance, maintenance of public realm spaces and winter operations.
In July 2017, City Council authorized the implementation of the proposed King Street Transit Pilot between Bathurst Street and Jarvis Street with a goal of improving transit reliability and speed on one of downtown’s busiest corridors.
Throughout the project, the city released metrics on its public website, sharing data collected from the pilot.