Toronto City Council has voted to make the King Street transit pilot permanent.
The pilot project, which prioritizes streetcar traffic along a 2.6-kilometre stretch of King Street between Bathurst and Jarvis streets, has been in force since November 2017. It restricts through-traffic at a majority of intersections.
The vote was 22-3 in favour, with only three councillors — Michael Ford, Stephen Holyday and Jim Karygiannis — voting against.
As part of the decision to make the pilot permanent, council also voted to make improvements to streetscaping along the corridor.
Toronto City Council also voted unanimously to pass a motion put forward by Mayor John Tory to continue to monitor and access the performance of the project.
The decision was celebrated by the TTC riders group.
“It just doesn’t make sense for 75 people squished on a bus to be stuck behind a handful of single-passenger vehicles,” Milan Gokhale, spokesperson for TTC riders, said in a statement.
Staff recommended pilot be made permanent
City staff found the pilot shortened travel times for transit users, while increasing transit ridership. A recent staff report found that:
- 30,000 minutes of travel time are saved by travellers each day.
- Ridership increased 16 per cent from 72,000 to 84,000 boardings per day.
- 25 per cent more customers per hour of service.
The 504 King streetcar is the busiest surface route in Toronto.
For businesses along the route, the report found that during the 12-month period before the pilot was installed compared to the 12-month period after it was installed, year-over-year growth in total spending along King Street decreased slightly from 2.5 per cent to 1.7 per cent.
There was little change to average travel times of cars, forced to move off of King Street to other streets, according to the report.