In a few weeks, King St. in downtown Toronto will become a transit-first corridor, catering to the roughly 65,000 people who commute using public transportation every day.
The King St. Pilot Study is expected to launch on Nov. 12 and will cover six kilometres of the corridor, from Jarvis to Bathurst. Drivers will be unable to drive straight through intersections, and instead will be funnelled to parallel east-west routes like Queen St., Richmond, Adelaide, Wellington, or Front. This will allow local drivers access to the street for short periods of time without affecting streetcar flow.
Cyclists, TTC vehicles, emergency vehicles, and maintenance workers will be allowed to travel through the intersections. No on-street parking will be allowed and taxis will only be permitted through the intersections at night, between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. There will be designated space for taxi pickup as well as delivery drop-offs.
One of the most interesting aspects is the public spaces created for this study. This is the only infrastructure, along with road blockers that will prevent drivers from moving through intersections and protect transit users as they get on the streetcar, that is being built. This meant the pilot was able to move forward quickly.
Police will be present during the first two weeks to enforce and educate drivers as to the new road rules.
The pilot project was first announced by former Chief City Planner Jennifer Keesmaat at a Transit Alliance conference on Green Cities.