City staff recommends making King St. pilot project permanent

Toronto city staff are recommending in a new report the King St. pilot project become permanent, with Mayor John Tory welcoming the approval. 

"It's the right thing for King St. and it is the right thing for our city as a whole," Tory said Tuesday. 

According to city data, the King St. streetcar ridership has grown from 72,000 passengers a day since November 2017 to 84,000 a day now. 

The mayor said that's the number that sticks the most from all the data.

"If one of the overarching goals that we have in this city as a city government is to get more people to use public transit so they don't use their cars, then obviously this has to be a very significant accomplishment or achievement," he said. 

Tory acknowledged the resistance to the project by drivers and parts of the restaurant community along the downtown block. 

According to city data, average travel times going west-east rose by a minute in both the morning and afternoon peak periods on roads parallel to King, while north-south traffic remained the same. 

"The impact on drivers was minimal," he said. 

As for restaurants, the city reports a 1.2 per cent reduction in restaurant spending over the course of the pilot. 

But Tory says retail and services went up during the same time period, and the city will continue to waive patio fees, build more enhanced lighting and push for more patios overall. 

The fate of the project will now go to committee and then council. 

To read the full report, click here.