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"People (and streetcars) are King": Transit pilot
between Bathurst and Jarvis starts November 12



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TTC streetcars operating along King Streets East and West between River and Dufferin Streets serve the busiest surface transit corridor in Toronto. They carry as many as 65,000 passengers every Monday to Friday.

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Despite the large number of riders on King streetcars, service is often slow and erratic. Streetcars share the street with other traffic and left-turning vehicles often delay the cars. In many cases at many times of the day, pedestrians can walk faster than the streetcars can travel the same distance.

King Street also has the largest concentration of jobs in the city, region, and country. The King Street corridor will continue to grow significantly in population and employment in the coming decades, leading to further demand on these already heavily congested transit routes.

Moreover, even though most people travel by transit on King Street and very few by car, the design allocates the most space to motorists.

During its meeting of Thursday, July 6, City of Toronto council approved a pilot project to — temporarily, at least — fix the problem.

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Starting 7 a.m. Sunday, November 12, the City is designating King Street between Bathurst and Jarvis Streets as a transit-priority street, hopefully improving the reliability, speed, and capacity of streetcar service. During the pilot, motorists in private vehicles can’t drive through intersections — they can only turn right onto cross streets. Only TTC, emergency and road maintenance vehicles and bicycles can continue along the street without turning. Taxicabs can also operate through intersections — but only from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m.

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Pilot projects such as this help the City try out new ideas, quickly and cost-effectively, and learn what works and what doesn’t. The pilot project continues for about a year, by which time City staff can assess the results and then let Council decide what to do next: make it permanent; tweak it; or cancel it.

The TTC is moving most streetcar stops in the pilot area. Usually, the cars drop off or pick on the far side, instead of the near side. This means that they stop after crossing the intersection. (Two exceptions: the westbound stops at Portland and Bathurst Streets.) At many stops, the City has set up protected passenger waiting areas in the curb lane of the street.

For the first two weeks of the pilot, the TTC is assigning customer-service ambassadors on the street to help direct passengers to the new transit stops on the far side of the intersections.

During the same time, the Toronto Police Service is deploying have a team of officers at key intersections along King Street to educate drivers and enforce the new road restrictions.




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Click on the map to view details of the street design during the pilot project.

At Bathurst Street, motorists cannot drive through the intersection. They must turn left or right. At Jarvis Street, motorists cannot drive through the intersection. They must turn left or right.

Motorists turning right onto King must turn into the streetcar lane, not the curb lane. Motorists turning right off of King must use the right-turn lane beside the curb. At some intersections, the City has installed new signals with advanced right-turn green arrows to provide drivers extra time to turn before pedestrians can cross. You cannot turn left from King onto any street in the area. The drivers of vehicles on north-south streets can still cross King Street.

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The City is* prohibiting all on-street parking* in the pilot area. Parking is available on some side streets and in parking lots and garages nearby. It has also established on-street taxi spaces for cabs to stand or pick up passengers and spots where truckers can stop their vehicles to deliver to businesses.


This video with the TTC’s Chief Executive Officer Andy Byford and Executive Director of Corporate Communications Brad Ross explains the reasons for the pilot project and how it will affect transit passengers and motorists.


Steve Munro offers a more detailed look at the street design on his blog, here.