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King Street (Streetcar Transit Priority)

Quick summary of my periscope walk along King from Bathurst to University:

90-95% cabs on King completely bogged down the Spadina to Bathurst segment. Virtually no enforcement even on a Friday night. Saw 2 cruisers for the entire stretch. The streetcars were stuck in the sludge of cabs and bunching up. Intersections were complete chaos.
 
I hope Restaurant Row didnt advocate for taxi stands over into potentially larger patio space

I also hope not. That restaurant row is terrible. I live in the area and have tried a few of them, really nothing redeeming at all in terms of quality. They really only exist/stay open to trick the out of town theatre goers into paying high prices for mediocre to very poor food. Its amazing that with such a good location, there is almost no reason to enter anything on that stretch unless youre not from toronto and have done no research

/rant
 
Quick summary of my periscope walk along King from Bathurst to University:

90-95% cabs on King completely bogged down the Spadina to Bathurst segment. Virtually no enforcement even on a Friday night. Saw 2 cruisers for the entire stretch. The streetcars were stuck in the sludge of cabs and bunching up. Intersections were complete chaos.

I was down again on Friday in the PM rush hour, third time this week. I would say things are deteriorating a little. Pedestrian flows at rush hour at King and Yonge need a rethink. Definitely need traffic wardens for pedestrian control as well as auto enforcement.

The strategy police seemed to be using was - pull over one guy, leaving cruiser's flashing lights on so other drivers see there are cops around, rely on that as the deterrent rather than engaging huge numbers of offenders. I certainly saw officers working steadily to deal with offenders, but others did the "pull over one guy, issue warning, then stand around talking for a while, ignoring other offenders, then pull over another guy thing" ......cops in this city don't realise the poor PR they create for themselves by standing around in pairs (or groups) just talking.

- Paul
 
I was down again on Friday in the PM rush hour, third time this week. I would say things are deteriorating a little.
It's arguable whether one person's take is too hot or too cold, but judged against the same person's previous comments, the view becomes much more objective.

I too had the same impression yesterday, save that at King/Spadina, the pedestrians did observe the crossing lights when I was crossing west. I thought that was progress, but it may have been my own hesitance to cross until getting the walk sign, I was at front of the group with a large dog, and the psychology of crowds is an important factor to consider. One usually sees the opposite: One person crosses illegally, the rest follow willingly. It's the edge of a crowd becoming a mob.

The common theme to all of this behaviour is the need for effective and continued enforcement. It's a bit like college homecoming, and expecting the 'mature' students to behave themselves. It doesn't work.
 
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^ I might have been a bit more specific about what is 'deteriorating'. Specifically, I saw more instances where streetcars were blocked or delayed by autos and pedestrians who were not following the new rules. I saw streetcars bunching up on Friday, hadn't seen that all week.

I don't think we will ever train Torontonians to some Swiss-like level of traffic sign compliance. What matters is that the streetcars get through. Downtown is a pretty lawless zone otherwise, hopefully someone at the City is strategising how to keep things from getting any worse.

- Paul
 
I don't think we will ever train Torontonians to some Swiss-like level of traffic sign compliance. What matters is that the streetcars get through.
There's points to be deduced from that. First, since this has worked well in other *North Am* cities, is the message that 'Toronto isn't up to this'? Because Toronto has a terrible reputation for poor drivers and cyclists by Cdn standards, let alone *most* progressive major US cities. The adage of "Polite Canadians" is certainly missed on Toronto now, some pleasant exceptions besides.

So is it unreasonable to expect Torontonians to comply with simple road-signs and obvious common-sense? The signs are one thing, the pavement markings another. How can you possibly miss those?

And the cops "standing around". Dare I proffer that they realize that it's just not going to work as structured? The ones I spoke to a few days back were very skeptical bordering on cynical.

As the saying goes: "This is why we can't have nice things". Planning had best make some fixes to this, and PDQ.

LED turn signs are an absolute pre-requisite for a start. Surely that should have been obvious to Planning since inception of the project? Or are they unable to gauge the zeitgeist of Toronto drivers and pedestrians, and if so, that's equally as troubling.
 
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If Queen’s Quay is anything to go by, it does seem unreasonable to expect Toronto drivers to comply with simple road signs and common sense. Look at the stream of UT posts complaining about QQ’s dedicated streetcar ROW, bike lanes, and - horrors - a streetcar tunnel entrance. For that matter, look at the confusion many Toronto drivers experience concerning who gets priority in the few roundabouts we have. Or the whining about having to check their passenger side blind spots for cyclists when turning right. It’s as if this city’s drivers have taken a collective stupid pill, which I guess explains the moronic pro-car suburban councillors they keep electing.
 
If Queen’s Quay is anything to go by...
Torontonians are loathe to admit their lack of driving and street manners. I just did a pretty thorough Google search, and the danger of doing so is in the choice of tags used to get hits, you bias the results.

So I purposely picked a known driving author who was skeptical of the claim on Toronto (and GTA) drivers being so bad, and he did his own study.

Note that this article is six years dated, and *still* gets reader comments, a number American, on how bad Toronto drivers are, many of the others are European, and in some European nations, from my own experience driving and cycling there, if you're not good, you don't survive, at least on the back roads..."lanes" as they call them in the UK. (And with the right road-sense, they're *exquisite*)

How bad can Canada’s worst driver be? Are we really that terrible when it comes to driving skills?
https://www.wheels.ca/news/are-canadians-really-that-bad-at-driving/

Again, my comparison is college students given responsibility to act sensibly. Some do admirably. Many don't. Just live in a Cdn university town and try and deny that...

The model is broken before even proven on King. It's got to be revisited and/or heavily policed.
 
If Queen’s Quay is anything to go by, it does seem unreasonable to expect Toronto drivers to comply with simple road signs and common sense. Look at the stream of UT posts complaining about QQ’s dedicated streetcar ROW, bike lanes, and - horrors - a streetcar tunnel entrance. For that matter, look at the confusion many Toronto drivers experience concerning who gets priority in the few roundabouts we have. Or the whining about having to check their passenger side blind spots for cyclists when turning right. It’s as if this city’s drivers have taken a collective stupid pill, which I guess explains the moronic pro-car suburban councillors they keep electing.

It's because we don't expect much of them. I was walking around downtown with an Australian cop friend the other day, and the first thing he said was "Why does everyone here drive so fast?!". Apparently they have ticketing cameras throughout Brisbane, and that keeps everyone in line.

We have a culture of making driving as easy as possible through design, and our enforcement infrastructure is pretty lax as well. We don't force drivers to drive thoughtfully or even pay attention. It needs to change.
 
It's because we don't expect much of them. I was walking around downtown with an Australian cop friend the other day, and the first thing he said was "Why does everyone here drive so fast?!". Apparently they have ticketing cameras throughout Brisbane, and that keeps everyone in line.

We have a culture of making driving as easy as possible through design, and our enforcement infrastructure is pretty lax as well. We don't force drivers to drive thoughtfully or even pay attention. It needs to change.
Read today Star about a drunk driver in Norway where fines are based on your value income and property. Just think what that would do to some of those fool people. If Europe can imposed high fines to stop fools, so can we. Our fine system is too low in most cases in the first place. Again, over 50% of today drivers should not hold a driver license in the first place.
 
It's because we don't expect much of them. I was walking around downtown with an Australian cop friend the other day, and the first thing he said was "Why does everyone here drive so fast?!". Apparently they have ticketing cameras throughout Brisbane, and that keeps everyone in line.

We have a culture of making driving as easy as possible through design, and our enforcement infrastructure is pretty lax as well. We don't force drivers to drive thoughtfully or even pay attention. It needs to change.

Speed cameras are prevalent throughout the UK with signage reminding you that there are cameras in use, although I saw a stat recently that only 52% of them are active.
 
Speed cameras are prevalent throughout the UK with signage reminding you that there are cameras in use, although I saw a stat recently that only 52% of them are active.
The UK is really covered by cameras of various kinds - they started putting them in for security when the IRA were active and now with IS they seem to be installing more.
 
The experience with the new far side stops that go right up to the streetcar (no walking around cars), the yellow rubber grip pads, the all door boarding & POP is very subway like. Especially when a 514 comes. The speed/reliability & frequencies seem much better now.

However there's quite a capacity crunch and the vehicles are packed. Really looking forward to the new streetcars on 504.
 
Some of the planters that widen the sidewalk have already been installed. Of course, cyclists are already claiming them as "bike lanes".

Lol. To be fair, there's nothing to suggest that they aren't bike lanes other than the planter way down at the end. The city should really be putting in the same kind of parklets that they installed on Church a few summers ago, and more recently on Elm Street.

If Queen’s Quay is anything to go by, it does seem unreasonable to expect Toronto drivers to comply with simple road signs and common sense. Look at the stream of UT posts complaining about QQ’s dedicated streetcar ROW, bike lanes, and - horrors - a streetcar tunnel entrance. For that matter, look at the confusion many Toronto drivers experience concerning who gets priority in the few roundabouts we have. Or the whining about having to check their passenger side blind spots for cyclists when turning right. It’s as if this city’s drivers have taken a collective stupid pill, which I guess explains the moronic pro-car suburban councillors they keep electing.

Signs don't work! I'm sure most people here are well aware of this. The only purpose signs serve is to allow the police to stop people who break the rules. If you want people to follow the rules, you have to build a street that makes it common sense to follow them and hard to break them.

I know that's hard on King since it's temporary by design, but Queen's Quay West is inexcusable. There aren't chronic problems with cars driving on the Spadina, St Clair and Cherry streetcar tracks because those roads have a much better design.
 

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