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King Street (Streetcar Transit Priority)

steveintoronto

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Some good news in a sea of uncertainty as of late- definitely hope that with the pilot becoming permanent, we can see some streetscape upgrades to King. Would it be too radical to suggest a curbless street with bollards defining the road?
There's a lot of things that should change. Will they though? The excuse against better traffic signalling has now disappeared. Will Council put the money where their vote is? I'm skeptical...
 

salsa

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Executive committee item is out:
http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2019.EX4.2

Pilot to become permanent

I wish they would get rid of the taxi exemption while they're at it.

179436


179437
 

pstogios

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If the pilot is to become permanent without addressing the MAJOR issues of (a) horrible enforcement of illegal through-traffic and (b) ZERO enforcement of pedestrian crossing and intersection-blocking due to left turning cars getting stuck behind loading streetcars... then it will be horribly botched.

I have zero faith in city council or TPS to address these concerns.
 

W. K. Lis

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If the pilot is to become permanent without addressing the MAJOR issues of (a) horrible enforcement of illegal through-traffic and (b) ZERO enforcement of pedestrian crossing and intersection-blocking due to left turning cars getting stuck behind loading streetcars... then it will be horribly botched.

I have zero faith in city council or TPS to address these concerns.

One solution would be for MTO to update its regulations.

Why are red turn signal still illegal in Ontario, for example?


From link.

If bicyclists now have their own traffic signal, why doesn't the MTO create a "TAXI" traffic light signal?
 

nfitz

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If the pilot is to become permanent without addressing the MAJOR issues of (a) horrible enforcement of illegal through-traffic and (b) ZERO enforcement of pedestrian crossing and intersection-blocking due to left turning cars getting stuck behind loading streetcars... then it will be horribly botched.
Despite those issues, traffic is generally free-flowing now on King Street, despite some cars running through where they shouldn't.

Surely the criteria for success is the travel time - not our police's inability to enforce traffic rules.

Hopefully making things permanent will make the visual clues more obvious for those who are confused, and take away the possibility of parking in a transit stop (unless one wants to jump a curb!).

I have zero faith in city council or TPS to address these concerns.
Neither do I, but that's equally true on any city street, even those that have zero transit!
 

BurlOak

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If the pilot is to become permanent without addressing the MAJOR issues of (a) horrible enforcement of illegal through-traffic and (b) ZERO enforcement of pedestrian crossing and intersection-blocking due to left turning cars getting stuck behind loading streetcars... then it will be horribly botched.

I have zero faith in city council or TPS to address these concerns.
Not going straight is such a counter intuitive sign. That is likely a reason why it is not obeyed. It appears that a solution of no left turns would have been more effective - the public is already used to these, and it's the left turning vehicles that got in the way of the streetcar.
 

BurlOak

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One solution would be for MTO to update its regulations.

Why are red turn signal still illegal in Ontario, for example?


From link.
It seems to accomplish the same thing as a flashing green (free to turn), which becomes solid green (turn when safe) and then yellow and red. These flashing greens seem to have dropped out of favour (except in Vancouver where it means something else)
The newer version of this is a green arrow (free to turn), which becomes a solid green, etc. .
 

nfitz

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Not going straight is such a counter intuitive sign. That is likely a reason why it is not obeyed.
A simple no-entry sign (with exceptions listed underneath) would be simplest and the most understood.

Some raised relief (ridges or something) on the road in these locations (except on the one or two where you can turn left), and a lot of paint, would make this clearer too.
 

pstogios

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Despite those issues, traffic is generally free-flowing now on King Street, despite some cars running through where they shouldn't.

Surely the criteria for success is the travel time - not our police's inability to enforce traffic rules.

Hopefully making things permanent will make the visual clues more obvious for those who are confused, and take away the possibility of parking in a transit stop (unless one wants to jump a curb!).

Neither do I, but that's equally true on any city street, even those that have zero transit!

Must you always be contrarian? Are you doing this on purpose, to troll?

It’s obvious to anyone that spends any time on or around King Street that vehicles regularly block pedestrian crossings and/or intersections at a rate much higher than the average intersection in the city. This is due to the far-side stops (not saying those are a bad thing) and the total ignorance of TPS in cracking down on these drivers.

If you want to keep putting pedestrians in harms way, forcing them to dodge cars, and you want to continue to affect traffic flow north/south at King/Spadina, then that’s your choice.

But it’s clear at this time of evaluation, this is the proper time to put in place corrective measures to address this unintended consequence.
 

W. K. Lis

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Meanwhile....

A fee to drive into parts of Manhattan was approved on Sunday as part of the New York State budget.

From link.

Los Angeles traffic is so bad that buses crawl along at less than 12 miles an hour. In San Francisco, car speeds have fallen to 10 miles per hour. And Seattle’s streets are so choked the city needs to find ways to have fewer cars altogether.

Major cities across the United States are facing increasingly clogged roads and have had frustratingly little success in dealing with them. But now that New York has adopted congestion pricing in Manhattan, the rest of the country is far more likely to seriously consider embracing such a policy — even though it was once considered politically toxic, according to municipal officials and transportation analysts.

“New York’s use of congestion pricing could be a game-changer,” said Travis Brouwer, an assistant transportation director in Oregon, which has considered congestion pricing for traffic-jammed Portland.

“If New York City can prove that congestion pricing can work and gain public acceptance, it could give cities like Portland a boost as we look to introduce pricing.”


New York, the country’s largest city, will charge drivers to enter Manhattan’s most congested neighborhoods as a way to raise money for public transit and to persuade people to abandon their cars. The tolls are expected to start in 2021.

Philadelphia is now considering congestion pricing for the first time, closely watching New York’s move, “to see how this can help improve equity, safety, sustainability and mobility,” said Kelly Cofrancisco, a spokeswoman for Philadelphia’s mayor, Jim Kenney.

Los Angeles and San Francisco are already conducting studies to lay the groundwork for congestion pricing, and Seattle’s mayor, Jenny Durkan, is leading efforts to have congestion pricing in place by the end of her first term in 2021.

“It really does help to be able to point to some peer city and say ‘They’re doing this and it’s working,’” said Michael Manville, an associate professor of urban planning at The University of California, Los Angeles, who has advised Los Angeles on congestion pricing. “At the very least, it changes the conversation in other cities.”

Not everyone is ready to sign up. Kathryn Barger, a Los Angeles county supervisor, has raised concerns that congestion pricing could unfairly penalize drivers in communities with limited public transit, where “driving isn’t a choice, it’s a necessity.”

A handful of cities in Europe and Asia already have congestion pricing in place; it has helped clear roads in London, Stockholm and Singapore. But it has also been assailed by drivers and critics as an unfair tax that hurts the poor.

Fueled by an economic boom, a revival of urban areas, a proliferation of Uber and Lyft cars and an explosive growth in package deliveries propelled by the rise of Amazon, the average speed in urban downtowns fell to 15 miles per hour last year, down from 18 miles per hour in 2015, according to INRIX, a transportation analytics company.

“I believe the time has finally arrived to explore congestion relief pricing in major cities,” said Phil Washington, the chief executive of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. “Here in Los Angeles, our congestion challenges are just as bad, if not worse, than Manhattan’s.”

He added, “We cannot sit idly by and watch it get worse.”

In New York, many details of a congestion pricing plan — including how much drivers will be charged — are still being worked out. The plan was the culmination of a campaign that started 18 months ago and drew transit groups as well as prominent business, civic and labor leaders, who saw no other way to tackle gridlock.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo staked his name on it and wielded his political power to push it forward, making it a centerpiece of the $175 billion state budget after past efforts had unraveled. Even Mayor Bill de Blasio, who had been lukewarm about congestion pricing and has had a frosty relationship with the governor, threw his support behind it. They had made the case that it was crucial for raising the money needed to modernize the city’s crumbling subway system.

And city transit officials, facing a growing financial crisis, warned repeatedly that the alternative would be huge fare increases.


Congestion pricing’s moment follows decades of failed efforts to unclog roads around the country. Historically, cities responded to congestion by building more roads or widening existing ones — only to find that those, too, became jammed, said Matthew Turner, an economics professor at Brown University.

As a result, America’s roads are carrying more traffic than ever. The number of people driving to work climbed to about 130 million in 2017, up from 121 million in 2012, according to an analysis of census data by Social Explorer, a research company. Of those, more than 116 million drove alone, and only 14 million car-pooled. Just 8 million workers took public transportation.

The increasing traffic has been accompanied by concerns over health, safety and environmental implications. The number of pedestrians killed in traffic in the United States is approaching a three-decade high.

Traffic woes have emerged as the underside of successful cities: The boom leads to an influx of new residents, businesses and construction. More than two dozen major American cities, including New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Austin, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle, have more congestion now than a decade ago, according to an annual global traffic scorecard by INRIX.

The most recent scorecard found that congestion left American drivers sitting in traffic an average of 97 hours last year, up from 82 hours in 2015. That, in turn, cost the economy roughly $87 billion in lost productivity last year, up from $74 billion in 2015, according to INRIX.

“It only takes one car that doesn’t get through an intersection to block two lanes of traffic,” said Trevor Reed, an INRIX transportation analyst.

In Seattle, Amazon’s relentless rise has helped to turn the city into a major tech hub. Now, major infrastructure and development projects are expected to lead to even more gridlock.

“As we build a city of the future, we must reduce our reliance on cars,” Ms. Durkan said. “My goal is to make our downtown core a healthier place for all with fewer cars, a more equitable transportation system and less climate pollution.”

Road pricing has been used on some American highways since the 1990s, with tolled express lanes — or so-called Lexus lanes — built alongside regular lanes, offering a faster alternative to drivers who are willing to pay for it.

Cities are trying to figure out how to make it work on streets. “There’s a critical mass forming where people are saying, ‘enough is enough,’” said Stuart Cohen, the founding director of TransForm, a California-based group that released a recent report on congestion pricing. “They’ve tried everything else and nothing’s working.”
...
 

jje1000

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There's a lot of things that should change. Will they though? The excuse against better traffic signalling has now disappeared. Will Council put the money where their vote is? I'm skeptical...

Some of this could possibly be partially alleviated by a more permanent redesign of the road and the transformation of temporary features into permanent ones.

As of now, King Street is still a normal street- drivers may think that it's just a temporary intrusion on their space. But when these things become more permanent and more imposing, maybe the mentality might change.
 

nfitz

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Must you always be contrarian? Are you doing this on purpose, to troll?
That seems a very odd comment given you pounced on a good news report about how successful this scheme has been, to pronounce that "If the pilot is to become permanent without addressing the MAJOR issues of ... then it will be horribly botched."! Which is surely both contrarian, and trolling the good news! The report very conclusively shows it's not horribly botched now ... it makes no sense that if the status quo hold, that it's suddenly horribly botched.

In fact, I'm going to suggest, that not only will it not become horribly botched, it won't even become MAJORily botched. Perhaps it will be a little botched ...

It also seems odd, given the post above yours was not contrarian at all - which shows that I'm not always contrarian! :)

The project is a huge success. Traffic is much improved. Dealing with the few remaining issues (other than perhaps late at night) is not going to yield more more benefit. And yet I'll continue to make constructive comments on how it can still be improved.
 

thettctransitfanatic

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One solution would be for MTO to update its regulations.

Why are red turn signal still illegal in Ontario, for example?


From link.

If bicyclists now have their own traffic signal, why doesn't the MTO create a "TAXI" traffic light signal?

And if the MTO were to create a taxi signal, it really wouldn't be that hard for them to.
 

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