King Street Pilot Study

King Street Pilot Study

The City is undertaking a King Street Pilot Study (formerly called the King Street Visioning Study) to explore bold, transformative ideas for how to redesign King Street in order to achieve three broad city-building objectives:


Why King Street?

King Street is the busiest surface transit route in the entire City, carrying more than 65,000 riders on a typical weekday. But we recognize that King Street isn't working well. Streetcars are often stuck in mixed traffic, making it challenging to keep transit service running smoothly. This often results in bunching and gapping of vehicles, uneven utilization of capacity, and overcrowded vehicles. During rush hour, people are often unable to board the first streetcar that arrives.

King Street is also an important Downtown east-west spine, connecting many neighbourhoods with the largest concentration of jobs in the City, Region, and entire Country. The King Street corridor will continue to see significant population and employment growth in the coming decades, leading to further demand on these already heavily congested transit routes.

The City and TTC have recently been making operational changes to improve streetcar service, including: allowing all-door loading (to become more effective with the new low-floor streetcars); adding supplemental buses; extending turning and on-street parking restrictions; optimizing transit stop locations and route running times; adding route supervisors; and improving night service.

But a more significant change is needed to improve transit service on King Street. The pilot project(s) will test a range of options to determine what might further improve transit reliability, capacity, and efficiency.

Why Pilot?

Pilot projects are an efficient and cost-effective way for cities to quickly test out new ideas in order to learn important lessons about what works and what doesn't. The City can monitor and collect data to measure how overall objectives are being met and make adjustments before a larger investment in permanent infrastructure is made. Pilot projects also offer an opportunity to have discussions with stakeholders and the public about new ideas. The City has used pilot projects on a number of other projects, most notably the Bloor Cycling Pilot and the Richmond-Adelaide Cycle Tracks.

Project Timeline

Who's involved?

The Pilot Study is being led by the City Planning Division, Transportation Services, and the TTC, with the support of many other City Divisions and Agencies, like the Toronto Parking Authority. The City has hired a consulting team of renowned international experts to work on the Study, including:

  • Public Work, a Toronto-based urban design and landscape architecture studio;
  • Sam Schwartz Engineering, a New York-Based traffic and transportation planning and engineering firm;
  • Gehl Studio New York, a Danish architecture and design firm; and
  • Swerhun Associates, a Toronto-based consultation and engagement firm.

The City has also retained a consultant for a Modelling Study to be undertaken in parallel with the Pilot Study that will assess impacts of various options on auto traffic on the broader street network surrounding the King Street corridor. The Modelling Study will both inform and be informed by the Pilot Study.

Consultation and engagement is also a critical part of the King Street Pilot Study, and a variety of community and neighbourhood groups, businesses and BIAs, and other key stakeholders will be involved throughout the Study.  The first round of stakeholder and public consultation meetings are expected to begin in early 2017.