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King Street (Streetcar Transit Priority)

Jonny5

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Essentially, King Street will remain a mess of temporary infrastructure for at least 4 more years plus a construction period.
That's too bad. I continue to claim the road space when waiting in the yellow waiting box for a streetcar. I wish more people would do this and not stay back on the sidewalk, but I understand why. Yesterday, two taxis tried to drive partially through it to pass some cars stopped in the centre lane eastbound at York. They appeared upset that I refused to move out of the box and out of their way so they could drive around the traffic. One decided he would push through anyway and came within a few inches of hitting me. It is not clear to me the driver even saved any time with this maneuver as he wound up having to wait and merge right back in to the same traffic he was trying to get around.
 

MetroMan

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I’m told that higher quality planters and other furniture will be gradually brought in to improve the appearance and feel of the street. They’re planning for the long haul.

This is going to be a frustrating wait for the vibrant pedestrian and transit street we had envisioned when the King Street Pilot was introduced.
 

salsa

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Some updates:

- The sidewalks in front of the old MEC and in front of Metro Hall will be expanded with decking.

- In May, a new set of parklets will be installed along the corridor.

- More permanent transit shelters are being installed this year.

There is no decided on plan for a future King Street. Work is going on behind the scenes with all the stakeholders to come up with a plan ahead of public consultations for how the street will be rebuilt after the 2023 streetcar track replacements.

King Street continues to be for all intents and purposes, a “temporary highway closure”. Staff just change the end date when it expires. Currently, it’s set to expire in April 2020. Most importantly, what this means is that the street cannot be paved over with permanent wide sidewalks or transit platforms. Everything must be removable.

Essentially, King Street will remain a mess of temporary infrastructure for at least 4 more years plus a construction period.
In terms of the permanent design, the city will have to decide whether or not they plan to keep that stupid taxi exemption. Either we continue to allow King street to turn to shit after 10pm as if the needs of transit users matters only on a part time basis, or we don't. We can continue to rely on a bunch of signs and non-existent enforcement to keep unauthorized traffic off of King, or we can put up a physical barrier at every intersection that will tell these drives to take a hike. While the latter would have a side-effect of also preventing TTC express buses from using the street, however those routes have close to zero ridership and lose lots of money. I don't know why they continue to exist at the expense of improved service elsewhere, even after years of austerity-driven budgets.
 

DSC

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In terms of the permanent design, the city will have to decide whether or not they plan to keep that stupid taxi exemption. Either we continue to allow King street to turn to shit after 10pm as if the needs of transit users matters only on a part time basis, or we don't. We can continue to rely on a bunch of signs and non-existent enforcement to keep unauthorized traffic off of King, or we can put up a physical barrier at every intersection that will tell these drives to take a hike. While the latter would have a side-effect of also preventing TTC express buses from using the street, however those routes have close to zero ridership and lose lots of money. I don't know why they continue to exist at the expense of improved service elsewhere, even after years of austerity-driven budgets.

Let's not get our knickers in a knot here. Parts of King are certainly not as good for free-flowing traffic as they should be after 10pm with the taxi exemption but most of the street is just fine and (though enforcement is certainly not perfect) the numbers of vehicles on King during most of the day has been GREATLY reduced and transit runs far more smoothly. As the street can clearly not be blocked completely, streetcars need to get through, you cannot simply block every intersection - the drivers who go straight through now will continue to do so but will drive 100% on the streetcar tracks. I suggest it's time to stop complaining about the (relatively few) infractions and concentrate on getting the City to get on with the permanent make-over.
 

MetroMan

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More information coming in. I’ve been told that the parklets that’ll be installed in May are more permanent in nature. They’re being built to endure all seasons and with materials and construction built to last up to 5 years, instead of the 6 months that the pilot parklets were built for.

We should expect to see fixed wood decking and solid seating rather than parklets installed on the road with movable chairs as they were during the pilot. Also, no foam noodles or milk crates. What will be installed is more in line with permanent city street furniture, although each parklet was still designed by individually selected applicants in a contest.

Decking sidewalk expansions instead of roads blocked off by barriers should help the street feel less temporary.

I’d also love to see the end of the jersey barriers, replaced instead with trees. 4 years is long enough to pre-plant trees in crates that could then be replanted in the new permanent street post-2023. @Northern Light, you’re our resident tree guy. Is it feasible to plant trees in crates whose roots won’t outgrow their pot for 4-5 years so that they can be replanted in the new street around 2024/25?
 
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MetroMan

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Let's not get our knickers in a knot here. Parts of King are certainly not as good for free-flowing traffic as they should be after 10pm with the taxi exemption but most of the street is just fine and (though enforcement is certainly not perfect) the numbers of vehicles on King during most of the day has been GREATLY reduced and transit runs far more smoothly. As the street can clearly not be blocked completely, streetcars need to get through, you cannot simply block every intersection - the drivers who go straight through now will continue to do so but will drive 100% on the streetcar tracks. I suggest it's time to stop complaining about the (relatively few) infractions and concentrate on getting the City to get on with the permanent make-over.

The infractions are not “relatively few” and the street most definitely does not work in the evenings. It’s in fact completely unusable and reverts to pre-transit priority unreliability.

Last night, a Thursday, I took the 504 at 10:30pm with the intention of getting off at Portland. After 10 minutes of sludging along for 2 blocks, I gave up and walked. I got to my destination before my streetcar.

Yes, the pilot has been extraordinarily successful in removing cars off King St but this ceases to be true at night. I’d like reliable transit at all times of the day please. Not everyone commutes 9-5.

The taxi exemption doesn’t work and it ruins the design of the street. Not having to accommodate taxis after 10pm, would enable permanent and clear signage and physical infrastructure, forcing *all* vehicular traffic to turn right. There would be no solid green light and the through lane could be made impassible or at least unpleasant for drivers, making shifting to the right turn lane completely intuitive and not reliant on drivers reading signs.

The city has been looking into this problem so there might be changes in the future. In the meantime, a permanent street will not be built before 2023, no matter how much we want it, because that’s when the streetcar tracks are going to be replaced and the TTC will be ripping up the entire street.
 
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pstogios

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@MetroMan have you heard ANYTHING about the city addressing the NON-STOP infractions by cars turning left onto King Street? Particularly at Spadina. I try to avoid this intersection like the plague, no matter if I am on transit, driving, walking or cycling, especially during rush hour or after 10 pm.
I have posted here dozens of times about this issue. Nobody seems to care. Moronic drivers continue to stop in the pedestrian crosswalk or on Spadina itself as they wait for streetcars to unload.
 

centralblue

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@MetroMan have you heard ANYTHING about the city addressing the NON-STOP infractions by cars turning left onto King Street? Particularly at Spadina. I try to avoid this intersection like the plague, no matter if I am on transit, driving, walking or cycling, especially during rush hour or after 10 pm.
I have posted here dozens of times about this issue. Nobody seems to care. Moronic drivers continue to stop in the pedestrian crosswalk or on Spadina itself as they wait for streetcars to unload.
Enforcement of traffic laws is a police matter, enforcement on morons/self entitled people is a losing battle. What would be a better solution is if the advance green did not trigger if there is a streetcar sitting the stop. This should reduce the number of cars from getting caught in the intersection. One method would be to have the left turn green be similar to the lights on Lakeshore at Windermere, Ellis and Colburne Lodge. The left turn green is at the end of the cycle after the westbound bound traffic is stopped, the same could be done at Spadina and King allowing the the Streetcar to clear the stop before the cars are given permission to turn. Might be a suggestion to send to TTC and Toronto Traffic Services and see if it can get legs.
 

Jonny5

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Quadreal have shovelled the snow of the 200 King Street West property and dumped it directly at the streetcar loading stop westbound at University Avenue. They have done this each storm this winter.

IMG_20200227_083154.jpg
 

pstogios

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Enforcement of traffic laws is a police matter, enforcement on morons/self entitled people is a losing battle. What would be a better solution is if the advance green did not trigger if there is a streetcar sitting the stop. This should reduce the number of cars from getting caught in the intersection. One method would be to have the left turn green be similar to the lights on Lakeshore at Windermere, Ellis and Colburne Lodge. The left turn green is at the end of the cycle after the westbound bound traffic is stopped, the same could be done at Spadina and King allowing the the Streetcar to clear the stop before the cars are given permission to turn. Might be a suggestion to send to TTC and Toronto Traffic Services and see if it can get legs.

This is a great idea and I certainly will send in this suggestion.

It’s good to see someone on this forum cares about this issue. One of these days a pedestrian on the crosswalk at King and Spadina is going to be killed by a moron driver.
 

dowlingm

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It’s good to see someone on this forum cares about this issue. One of these days a pedestrian on the crosswalk at King and Spadina is going to be killed by a moron driver.
Stop being so precious. Plenty of people care about this issue. What we haven’t figured out is what it will take for those in authority to care.
 

MetroMan

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I hadn't noticed this before but having taken the 504 during rush hour, I was able to get on the first streetcar that arrived a few minutes after I got there and I could see at least one streetcar further down the road. I guess they say you don't notice when things work, but you definitely do notice when they don't. A reminder that during the King Street Pilot, transit priority on King had gotten too successful in that so many people were using it that streetcars were too crowded and you'd have to wait for several before squishing yourself inside of one.

Maybe it's because the Flexity streetcar order is now complete and the 504 has all the streetcars it needs or maybe they figured out the timing to continuously pick up riders before the stops got full. Or perhaps ridership levelled back to where supply and demand are evened out, meaning that some people went back to their previous routes. It'd be interesting to see the current ridership numbers now, versus during the height of the King Street Pilot.
 

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