A downtown thoroughfare that has long been an absolute nightmare for commuters of all types is finally moving faster thanks to a police clampdown on drivers who aren’t following the rules of the road.
Gridlock on King Street has gotten so bad over the last few months that TTC operators have actually instructed passengers to get off and walk if they want to get to where they’re going in a reasonable time.
While this is exasperating for riders on any line, it is particularly concerning for those travelling on on King, which has been a Transit Priority Corridor with its own set of traffic calming measures for more than six years.
would be a real shame if TPS actually enforced car traffic in this city
— Scott L (@5L4P57R4) November 14, 2023
Residents had already been complaining that the corridor’s infrastructure was falling into disrepair, but they really started noticing how sluggish the artery had become last year. An analysis from CityNews ended up showing that travel times were somehow worse in fall 2023 than they were before the pilot’s advent.
But, at long last, that has all changed now that authorities have actually started enforcing the posted signage that tells motorists they can’t turn right or go straight through most intersections between Jarvis and Bathurst streets — directives that locals felt many weren’t following.
New data from the city suggests the presence of traffic agents on the King Street transit corridor reduced average eastbound streetcar travel time in the evening rush from 45-65 minutes to 17-21 minutes. pic.twitter.com/aJfLBo8YM5
— Matt Elliott (@GraphicMatt) February 9, 2024
A new report from the City this week shows that when they beefed up the presence of traffic agents along the road, streetcars were able to cross the corridor in less than half the time during peak hours at worst, and just more than a quarter of the time at best, than when agents weren’t present.
Per the data taken between November 2023 and last month, streetcars got from one end of the corridor to the other in 17-21 minutes when agents were present, and 45-65 minutes when they weren’t.
(This latter figure does seem impossibly large compared to the 22 minutes at best, 26 minutes on average and 29 minutes at worst at CityNews clocked for a trip along the route in September, but it is what the City’s doc states.)
I still feel like most drivers don’t even know the king street rules exist
— Brad Bennett (@TheBradFad) February 9, 2024
The numbers seem to clearly point to the fact that enforcement is paramount to the Transit Priority Corridor functioning as intended. Whether the City has the resources to increase agent presence even more is another matter.
Along with dispatching officers, the City is considering installing new traffic lights that give priority to TTC vehicles along the line, and could also make some much-needed upgrades to the very dilapidated stops along King Street.