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King Street (Streetcar Transit Priority)

The lack of cars on King has done a tremendous job of exposing how dull and drab this street is. Dirty streets, cracked and uneven pavement, narrow sidewalks, little public amenities or attractions, zero green converge, grey everywhere. This really is an unattractive stretch of road, and I'd be embarrassed to take tourists down here. The permanent installation of this project must include large-scale public realm improvements, in a similar vein to what we've done with Union Station. King is going to become an even more important tourist corridor, so it absolutely deserves this treatment. The street in its current state is a poor reflection on our city.
 
This morning there were police set up east of Portland and east of Spadina pulling over drivers who went straight through the light. the officer at Spadina was doing full checks or license and registration. holding the driver for 10 -15 minutes according to the CITY-TV camera man. Have to say that it is now eerily quite on King on my morning walk. No back up at Bathurst either, completely opposite of what I was expecting I have also not noted any appreciable increase in traffic volume on Adelaide heading west from Bathurst. Leaves me wondering where did all the cars go?
 
CityNews had a surprisingly great and balanced report on the King pilot yesterday:

http://toronto.citynews.ca/video/20...-streetcar-with-the-new-rules-on-king-street/
As for the restaurant owner .... does anyone drive down King and say, "hey, stop, there's a restaurant". Sure people drive to restaurants on King, but don't they already know that's their destination? And in the entertainment district, a lot of people are walking around there and choose restaurants as they walk past. It will be interesting to see the studies.
 
The lack of cars on King has done a tremendous job of exposing how dull and drab this street is. Dirty streets, cracked and uneven pavement, narrow sidewalks, little public amenities or attractions, zero green converge, grey everywhere. This really is an unattractive stretch of road, and I'd be embarrassed to take tourists down here. The permanent installation of this project must include large-scale public realm improvements, in a similar vein to what we've done with Union Station. King is going to become an even more important tourist corridor, so it absolutely deserves this treatment. The street in its current state is a poor reflection on our city.

I had the same reaction when I went along King yesterday, but that's an opportunity statement rather than a complaint. It's too soon to say we have solved the streetcar problem on King, but it's a very promising start. Now, the other big opportunity is for the City to decide what's the best use of all that vacant street space.... sidewalks? cobblestones? grass?

It's time to get really, really creative. Usually I scoff when people suggest an International Design Competition boondoggle, but something that extravagant would not be wasted effort.

- Paul
 
As for the restaurant owner .... does anyone drive down King and say, "hey, stop, there's a restaurant". Sure people drive to restaurants on King, but don't they already know that's their destination? And in the entertainment district, a lot of people are walking around there and choose restaurants as they walk past. It will be interesting to see the studies.

If this is made permanent I am sure public realm improvements can be made to more than compensate any negative impact.

I had the same reaction when I went along King yesterday, but that's an opportunity statement rather than a complaint. It's too soon to say we have solved the streetcar problem on King, but it's a very promising start. Now, the other big opportunity is for the City to decide what's the best use of all that vacant street space.... sidewalks? cobblestones? grass?

It's time to get really, really creative. Usually I scoff when people suggest an International Design Competition boondoggle, but something that extravagant would not be wasted effort.

Doesn't have to be a design competition (in fact, you probably want to avoid overly creative but impractical schemes) - just hire the likes of Claude Cormier to put forward a public realm plan with detailed paving, landscaping, lighting and street furniture programme. Like @TheTigerMaster said - this pilot project laid bare the public realm bankruptcy of King Street - it feels inhospitable.

AoD
 
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As for the restaurant owner .... does anyone drive down King and say, "hey, stop, there's a restaurant". Sure people drive to restaurants on King, but don't they already know that's their destination? And in the entertainment district, a lot of people are walking around there and choose restaurants as they walk past. It will be interesting to see the studies.

I am always amused when business owners (restaurants or otherwise) insist that the parking spot right in front of their store is keeping them out of bankrupcy. Like, have you ever found a vacant parking spot right in front of the store you are heading to? Have you ever driven away (cancelling your errand or shopping agenda) because of that? Drive around the block, find parking somewhere, walk the half block or two to the store. Maybe if there is no parking within blocks, you give up in frustration..... but there is paid parking in plenty of locations around King.

- Paul
 
I am always amused when business owners (restaurants or otherwise) insist that the parking spot right in front of their store is keeping them out of bankrupcy. Like, have you ever found a vacant parking spot right in front of the store you are heading to? Have you ever driven away (cancelling your errand or shopping agenda) because of that? Drive around the block, find parking somewhere, walk the half block or two to the store. Maybe if there is no parking within blocks, you give up in frustration..... but there is paid parking in plenty of locations around King.

- Paul

On-street parking on King represents a whopping 3% of parking capacity on the King corridor. The concerns are overblown.
 
This morning there were police set up east of Portland and east of Spadina pulling over drivers who went straight through the light. the officer at Spadina was doing full checks or license and registration. holding the driver for 10 -15 minutes according to the CITY-TV camera man. Have to say that it is now eerily quite on King on my morning walk. No back up at Bathurst either, completely opposite of what I was expecting I have also not noted any appreciable increase in traffic volume on Adelaide heading west from Bathurst. Leaves me wondering where did all the cars go?
They were obviously driving around in circles wearing different hats. Now that the cops are out, they probably sold their hats.
 
I am always amused when business owners (restaurants or otherwise) insist that the parking spot right in front of their store is keeping them out of bankrupcy. Like, have you ever found a vacant parking spot right in front of the store you are heading to? Have you ever driven away (cancelling your errand or shopping agenda) because of that? Drive around the block, find parking somewhere, walk the half block or two to the store. Maybe if there is no parking within blocks, you give up in frustration..... but there is paid parking in plenty of locations around King.

- Paul

Yeah, for king street that argument doesnt hold, especially east of spadina. I dont think anyone could really ever expect to park right in front of the restaurant they wanted to go to on that stretch.

That being said...this does not hold elsewhere. King and queen west of bathurst, and same with dundas and bloor west of spadina, you can usually count on getting a spot really close to wherever youre going
 
The lack of cars on King has done a tremendous job of exposing how dull and drab this street is. Dirty streets, cracked and uneven pavement, narrow sidewalks, little public amenities or attractions, zero green converge, grey everywhere. This really is an unattractive stretch of road, and I'd be embarrassed to take tourists down here. The permanent installation of this project must include large-scale public realm improvements, in a similar vein to what we've done with Union Station. King is going to become an even more important tourist corridor, so it absolutely deserves this treatment. The street in its current state is a poor reflection on our city.

I had the same reaction when I went along King yesterday, but that's an opportunity statement rather than a complaint. It's too soon to say we have solved the streetcar problem on King, but it's a very promising start. Now, the other big opportunity is for the City to decide what's the best use of all that vacant street space.... sidewalks? cobblestones? grass?

It's time to get really, really creative. Usually I scoff when people suggest an International Design Competition boondoggle, but something that extravagant would not be wasted effort.

- Paul

If this is made permanent I am sure public realm improvements can be made to more than compensate any negative impact.



Doesn't have to be a design competition (in fact, you probably want to avoid overly creative but impractical schemes) - just hire the likes of Claude Cormier to put forward a public realm plan with detailed paving, landscaping, lighting and street furniture programme. Like @TheTigerMaster said - this pilot project laid bare the public realm bankruptcy of King Street - it feels inhospitable.

AoD

This discussion reminds me that City Planning, within the past month or two, proposed a plan for a large-scale revitalization of many Downtown Toronto corridors. These included King, Queen, University, Jarvis, Yonge, and some other corridors identified as being particularly important for tourism. So at the very least, King's public realm issues are on the radar of City officials. If they did want to propose anything for this corridor, they'd wait until after the pilot was complete.

Unfortunately my Googling can't seem to find any references to the plan. Hopefully someone else here can remember the details.
 
I believe that the painted road at streetcar stops and pedestrian areas will come in the spring. No point in doing that now with snow season about to arrive and cover it up.
If it's flat concrete slabs bolted down to make them removable and create a plinth extension from the sidewalk to the streetcar, now is the time to do it. If you can use tapcons to attach yellow tactile strip to the asphalt, the same or less labour is involved in bolting down pre-cast concrete slabs to the road using bolt anchors. The colouring wasn't what I was referring to. I'm referring to the built form in the renderings offering streetcar riders a much safer and defined area to embark/disembark at the stops. It would also speed up doing so. Once a plinth is in place *then* yellow tactile strip can be used as it was meant to warn persons with visual disabilities as to where the edge of the curb is.

Yes, laws are ineffective unless they are enforced. How would adding a new law regarding tactile markings change that?
Thank you for making my point. And I never suggested "adding a new law". That would take far more time than the project is touted to last. My point is that it is now *unenforceable* for the purpose of safety for pedestrians, and the yellow tactile strip is very slippery when wet for cyclists and pedestrians alike. Many instances are detailed on-line, especially in cycling forums.

CityNews had a surprisingly great and balanced report on the King pilot yesterday:
We're starting to see traffic patterns emerge, and not the ones expected, as the Queen comparison *evidently* showed little impact on traffic flow. The flow seems to be taken north-south, not east-west.

The lack of cars on King has done a tremendous job of exposing how dull and drab this street is. Dirty streets, cracked and uneven pavement, narrow sidewalks, little public amenities or attractions, zero green converge, grey everywhere. This really is an unattractive stretch of road, and I'd be embarrassed to take tourists down here. The permanent installation of this project must include large-scale public realm improvements, in a similar vein to what we've done with Union Station. King is going to become an even more important tourist corridor, so it absolutely deserves this treatment. The street in its current state is a poor reflection on our city.
In my visits down there past two days, and pics taken, it's truly filthy and bleak. Let me flip that over though. It's not the lack of vehicular traffic, it's because of years of vehicular traffic that meant that corridor could never reach its potential. Old pics of King (BlogTO has a piece up right now http://www.blogto.com/slideshows/king-street-1960s-1980s-toronto/13531 ) show a much leafier and softer, *more welcoming* street. At least in sections. Note how the eye sees the older King as much wider. The 'canyon effect' has taken a huge toll on King, and getting green growth along there might take a few horticultural tricks.

If this Project continues to produce results, then enthusiasm for making King welcoming will reach new heights. One only has to look at pics of Melbourne's Bourke Street and US examples (Portland, San Diego, et al) to see what can be done. Some have been failures, so it's essential to get the model right on this.

I have also not noted any appreciable increase in traffic volume on Adelaide heading west from Bathurst. Leaves me wondering where did all the cars go?
There's that "east-west" not showing increased flow again. It's very curious. Perhaps that might change, but it must be taking planners by surprise.

I had the same reaction when I went along King yesterday, but that's an opportunity statement rather than a complaint. It's too soon to say we have solved the streetcar problem on King, but it's a very promising start. Now, the other big opportunity is for the City to decide what's the best use of all that vacant street space.... sidewalks? cobblestones? grass?

It's time to get really, really creative. Usually I scoff when people suggest an International Design Competition boondoggle, but something that extravagant would not be wasted effort.
Just pics from the past show be a good starting point to expand on. A lot can be done.

If this is made permanent I am sure public realm improvements can be made to more than compensate any negative impact.
Magnitudes more. Five years from now, people will most likely be asking: "Why didn't we do this decades ago?". But alas, that's Toronto's song.
 
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This discussion reminds me that City Planning, within the past month or two, proposed a plan for a large-scale revitalization of many Downtown Toronto corridors. These included King, Queen, University, Jarvis, Yonge, and some other corridors identified as being particularly important for tourism. So at the very least, King's public realm issues are on the radar of City officials. If they did want to propose anything for this corridor, they'd wait until after the pilot was complete.

Unfortunately my Googling can't seem to find any references to the plan. Hopefully someone else here can remember the details.

That scheme is part of TOcore Parks & Public Realm Plan but it hasn't been released yet. I think they're doing that next month.

AoD
 
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