Proposal to test new King St. traffic regime has one city hall hurdle to go

City Hall's Executive Committee has passed a controversial proposal that would mean major traffic changes on King St.

City Council will get the final say at next month's meeting.

Councillors on the Executive Committee voted on Monday to recommend that council give the pilot project the go-ahead.

It would ban drivers from moving straight through any intersection between Bathurst and Jarvis St., giving right-of-way to streetcars and banning left-hand turns by cars and trucks.

The idea is that streetcars could move more quickly because drivers would be forced to turn right.

Advocates for the taxi industry spoke out against the proposal on Monday, raising concerns that restricting access to the curb lane would be bad for business and could potentially create safety hazards and traffic jams, as taxi's circle to find fares, and pedestrians run into traffic to get into their cabs.

Those advocates argued that the new regime should consider taxis as part of Toronto's public transit picture.

Its an argument that Mayor Tory responded to.  A motion was passed that calls for city staffers to look into the possibility of making taxis exempt to some of the rules.

If the proposal is passed at next month's council meeting, the pilot project could begin as soon as this fall.

The estimated cost is $1.5 million.