In November 2017, the city of Toronto launched the King Street Pilot Program – a one-year program created to prioritize streetcar and pedestrian travel and restrict car traffic. The program has had mixed opinions on whether it is in the best interest of the city, but with the results that are coming out so far, it seems to be showing as a success.
More than just improving public transit, the King Street Pilot program has also brought together a show of community support. A coalition of more than 15 organizations has launched the “We Love King” campaign in an effort to show support for the project. The group is proponents of the goals of the project which include improving King street transit and increasing traffic to local businesses. In other collaborations, the Liberty Village Residents’ Association, representing 10 000 local condo dwellers is behind the “King for All” coalition, which encourages supporters to sign an online pledge in backing the program.
Data released mid-February showed that in the four months since the program began, spending at King Street businesses has increased by 21 percent between October and December of last year.
King Street is an extremely important roadway for the local people and transit in the area serves thousands of city residents. The street is still open to car traffic, but with public transit being given priority, data shows that this has driven a “marked improvement” for transit riders. In fact, the latest figures, according to Councillor Joe Cressy, show that the project has offered monthly improvements in transit experience, and minimal negative effects on car traffic on other roadways, something he declares as a “win-win.”
While some people have called the traffic restrictions more of a hassle than a success, and others claim that business has suffered instead of improved, the latest data and community support indicate otherwise. There is still over half a year left for the project’s trial, and while there is likely going to continue to be divided views, only time will tell what the ultimate outcome is of the city’s efforts and initiative.