There is a lot of action slated to take place on King Street over the next several months, all in the name of increasing pedestrian movement, better connecting the people of the city, and making King Street more successful for business owners.
The King Street Pilot project, which started last November between Bathurst and Jarvis streets, aimed to reduce private vehicle traffic, in an effort to minimize streetcar delays and improve the flow of pedestrian passage at this busy interchange. While the project has been met with differing views, the city is taking it one step further heading into the summer, by adding “pedestrian-enticing” spaces. Fifteen of the improvements will be to streetscape patios, two will be mini-parks, and ten will be created as pop up spaces based on artist submissions.
In a second, more expensive, investment into the development of King Street, construction will begin on a King-Liberty pedestrian bridge early this summer. The plan, originally approved in 2011, will cost approximately $11.5 million and will see a bridge span across the Metrolinx rail corridor across Douro Street to Western Battery Road into the center of Liberty Village.
The bridge is being created as a “convenient and more direct route” between Liberty Village and King Street West, as many people have indicated that Liberty Village is an isolated community with minimal access points. While the idea is noble, some residents are still apprehensive about the promise, given that it has already been nearly seven years in the making. Construction is expected to conclude within a year, and work on the bridge will take place overnight as much as possible and on weekends when necessary. The project will involve the removal of trees currently in the area, with the promise to plant over triple the number removed before the project’s end. Once completed, the bridge will be open 24 hours a day, include extensive security features, and showcase public art in the elevator towers at either end.
While there is some work to be completed before either project comes fully to fruition, and many may remain skeptical until it does, the end goal of both projects is admirable: boost the public presence along King Street, as well as improve the flow of traffic and boost business.