Skip to Content
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Log In
Streetsblog USA

Toronto Cleared Cars Off a Major Transit Corridor — And it Worked!

12:36 PM PST on November 13, 2018

Using low-cost materials like this concrete divider, Toronto set up new streetcar stops on the far side of intersections on King Street, enabling safer boarding and cutting down on time stopped at red lights. Photo: Human Transit

One year after Toronto turned King Street in a transit- and walking-priority street, streetcar ridership, biking and walking are way up.

The project, which cost just $1.5 million, has produced an 11-percent increase in average daily ridership, and as much as 34 percent at peak hours. Once the street was closed to cars, about 20,000 additional streetcar riders materialized practically overnight, the city reports.

Biking, meanwhile, is up by as much as an astounding 440 percent, according to city estimates [PDF].

Before the pilot launched one year ago, King Street streetcar's 65,000 riders were mired in bumper-to-bumper traffic. “King St. wasn’t working for anyone,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said when the pilot was announced last summer.

Using painted jersey barriers and other low-cost materials, the pilot prohibited through car and truck traffic. The experiment shaved between four to seven minutes off evening commute times, saving riders about $11 million a year, according to a study by Ryerson University.

Local residents have been effusive about the improvements to transit trips.

Toronto will decide before the end of the year whether to make it permanent. There remains, however, a certain amount of discontent among some business owners. Toronto reports business receipts are up along the corridor as well, albeit a tiny 0.3 percent. The rest of the city was up 3.8 percent over the same period.

The city has tried free parking and other incentives as concessions to businesses who have complained about declining car traffic.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Los Angeles

Solis Motion Demands Community Benefits for Stadium Gondola to Proceed

A motion from Supervisor Solis would require the gondola project commit to many community benefits - from robust, affordable housing to truly committing to using no public funds

February 22, 2024

SGV Connect 121: El Monte and South El Monte, with ActiveSGV and Libros Monte

Podcast features ActiveSGV's David Diaz on various multimodal/complete streets projects - and Pedro Gonzales on Libros Monte and Mt. SAC's El Centro: Latinx Student Program

February 20, 2024

This Week In Livable Streets

CicLAvia, Metro lower 710 Freeway widening plan, C Line construction, Alternative Traffic Enforcement at Transportation Committee, street racing, and more

February 20, 2024
See all posts