Mayor John Tory announces initiative to draw people to King Street

Toronto's mayor has announced a series of measures aimed at boosting business on a downtown street that's at the centre of a complex pilot project prioritizing transit over cars.

Mayor John Tory says he has heard concerns from business owners along King Street who say they have been suffering since the year-long project began eight weeks ago.

The King Street pilot project in Toronto has banned cars from travelling straight through a busy stretch of the road that cuts through the city's financial and entertainment districts, with only a few exceptions.

Tory says there will be a competition to design and build new public spaces in the curb lanes along the street that could include patios and cafes.

Michael Thompson, the chair of the city's economic development committee, says the city will also add ice sculptures, art installations, fire performers and warming centres in an effort to draw people to the area.

Tory says the pilot project is a success from a transit perspective, saying commute times on the stretch's streetcar routes are down and traffic hasn't spilled over to parallel streets.