King Street Business Not Affected By Transit Pilot Project, Report Says
A new city report on the controversial King Street Transit Pilot project finds business on the street has not been negatively affected.
The monthly city figures for the project — launched in November in an effort to improve traffic flow along the downtown street by rerouting private vehicles — paint a rosy picture. Weekday streetcar ridership along the pilot route was up 16%, while streetcar travel times along the pilot's Bathurst and Jarvis stretch were down by four to five minutes on average.
The most contentious figures in the survey include car travel time. Though the project calls for vehicles to be rerouted away from King, the report said car travel times were still not affected. It also finds businesses along the affected route have not been significantly impacted.
"Preliminary findings indicate that customer spending since the pilot began is in line with seasonal spending patterns over the past three years," the report says.
This last figure contradicts the complaints of several businesses along the route that have launched an online protest campaign. They said they experienced as much as a 50% drop in business during the pilot project period.
Following a January meeting with downtown businesses, the city attempted to address the criticism by introducing several changes, including two-hour free parking and additional parking spaces for side streets.
"We are dedicated to making sure King Street works for everyone," Mayor John Tory said in a January news release. "I believe these updates to the pilot will help transit riders, businesses and drivers. I remain committed to listening to everyone about this project and making changes where they make sense."