A new King Street is emerging from weeks of construction, but the makeover is experiencing some growing pains.
A $600,000 project is underway to install a separated bike lane and several transit ‘islands.’
Eager cyclists, including Raymond David, were spotted by CTV News Thursday using the unfinished bike lane.
He says, “I can't afford a car like everyone else, I drive my bike. To see that the city cares about us…it’s good.”
But it hasn’t all gone smoothly.
Already cars have been seen stopping in the future bike lane, and the loss of street parking is hurting the bottom line of some King Street businesses.
At Jill's Table they're trying to look beyond the parking spots lost in front of the store by directing customers to nearby lots.
Owner Jill Wilcox will soon be distributing city hall's recently updated downtown parking map.
”It has been challenging and we certainly have been hearing about it from our customers. Even though a lot of the on street parking is gone, there is parking at Budweiser Gardens, underground parking at Covent Garden Market, and we still have metered parking on Talbot Street.”
The need to share the lane is most evident when buses stop in one of the two remaining traffic lanes to pick up or drop off passengers.
King is momentarily reduced to one lane of traffic at those times, requiring drivers behind the bus to be patient, or merge.
Regular transit riders like Bebe Serumaga point out - that’s still safer than last summer when buses crossed traffic lanes and the bike lane to reach curbside stops.
”Instead of buses trying to cross three lanes, trying to get to the curb and cars in the way, changes like this make it easier for buses, pedestrians and cars to navigate the street.”
The temporary bike lane and transit islands will eventually be replaced by a dedicated bus rapid transit lane.