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King Street is the busiest surface transit route in the entire City, carrying more than 65,000 riders on a typical weekday. It is a critical downtown spine, connecting neighbourhoods, the largest employment centre in the entire country, and diverse urban forms and uses.

But we recognize that King Street isn’t working well. Streetcars are often stuck in mixed traffic, making it challenging to keep transit service running smoothly. This often results in bunching and gapping of vehicles, uneven utilization of capacity, streetcar congestion and overcrowded vehicles. During rush hour, people are often unable to board the first streetcar that arrives.

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.

But a more significant change is needed to improve transit service on this critical artery in our neighbourhoods. Like we’re doing in so many other areas – community facilities, new parkland, and more – we must both catch up with growth and plan for the future.

It’s time for a big move on King St. to make it work better now, and be a bold transit node as we continue to grow.

Join us for the first public consultation on the King Street pilot project on February 13th, 6:30pm at Metro Hall (Rm 308/309).

Why a Pilot?
Pilot projects are an efficient and cost-effective way for us to quickly test out new ideas in order to learn important lessons about what works and what doesn’t. The City can monitor and collect data to measure how overall objectives are being met and make adjustments before a larger investment in permanent infrastructure is made. Pilot projects also offer an opportunity to have discussions with stakeholders and the public about new ideas. The City has used pilot projects on a number of other projects, most notably the Bloor Cycling Pilot and the Richmond-Adelaide Cycle Tracks.

The King St. pilot project(s) will test a range of options to determine what might further improve transit reliability, capacity, and efficiency.

What’s next?
We are in the first stages of a critical process to determine the best option for making King Street work. Over the last number of months, the City has been working hard with consultant partners to develop preliminary options for what is possible for King, in preparation for conversations with the public on what could work best.

Consultation and engagement on these options will begin with the first public consultation on February 13th, and will continue throughout the project. My office, and city staff, will be working closely with community and neighbourhood groups, businesses and BIAs, and other key stakeholders throughout the Study. Stay tuned for further updates on getting involved in the broad consultations and neighbourhood conversations.

Building reliable transit service is critical as we continue our work to build liveable communities. The King Street pilot project is an important step as we move forward, and I am excited to work together to build our vision for King.

To find out more and stay updated, visit the project website.