Skip to Content
Streetsblog California home
Streetsblog California home
Log In
Streetsblog USA

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

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.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

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 California

Port Lobbyists Trying to Kill Bike and Pedestrian Safety in Oakland

Trucking/port lobbyists want to destroy a long-established plan to build protected bike lanes connecting Jack London Square, West Oakland, and downtown

July 12, 2024

Friday Video: Take a Spin on Boston’s Electric Cargo Bike Share

Can't afford a $7,000 Urban Arrow cargo e-bike ? In Boston, you can now rent one for just a few bucks.

July 12, 2024

Friday’s Headlines

5 recommendations for high-speed rail; Caltrans, stop building new freeway lanes already; "Data bikes" can collect information about bike path conditions; More

July 12, 2024

Next Week: Active Transportation Program Workshop

The good news is that there will be a Cycle 7. But it will be small, and there will be hard choices about what gets funded.

July 11, 2024

Metro and Caltrans Still Planning 605 Expansion, Plus Four Connecting Freeways

Metro and Caltrans are planning to spend billions of dollars widening the 605, 5, 10, 60 and 105 Freeways. Really.

July 11, 2024
See all posts