Love it or hate it: The King Street Pilot still falls short on transit needs along the corridor
By: Diana Petramala and Alex Butler
April 26, 2018
The discussion in this blog is based on data released by the TTC in March for the period ending in February. The TTC has since released new data for March. However, the story has not changed with the new set of data.
The City of Toronto has restricted vehicle traffic between Bathurst and Jarvis on King to give the 504 (King Street) and 514 (Cherry Street) streetcars priority at its busiest stops– a temporary project called the King Street Pilot. This has become a widely debated transit experiment – some love it and some hate it. Whatever your feelings are, the experiment highlights the woes that occur when there is a mismatch between transit planning (or infrastructure) and development. The pilot project has helped the transit system catch up to all the office and residential development that has occurred in the area in the last decade or so. However, given an 8,000 units still under construction along the route, the streetcar is likely to be overcrowded once again in the coming years, even if the pilot is made permanent.
The issue with the King corridor is the amount of development that has occurred without proper assessment of transit needs
The eastbound King Streetcar runs between Dundas West Station (at Bloor and Dundas) down Roncesvalles to King –along King Street to Broadview -- then north to Broadview Station. The westbound streetcar goes in reverse along this route. The 514 Streetcar travels along King between Dufferin and the Distillery District.
Analyzing the census tracts that the King Streetcar runs through gives an idea of the amount of construction happening within 400 meters of King Street. Based on CMHC data, there has been almost 30,000 new residential units built in census tracts around the King Street corridor since 2010. Put another way, almost 10% of total development across the Greater Toronto Area occurred in areas serviced by the King streetcar.