King Street Update — Fall 2013

Over the opening weekend of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), King Street is closed in the block from Duncan (aka Ed Mirvish Way) to John to provide additional pedestrian space around the major TIFF events in the area.  This will last until Monday, September 9.


Of particular note, control of access by the streetcars to the centre lanes is handled not by Toronto Police paid duty officers, but by TIFF security guards and festival volunteers.

Further east, at the Don Bridge, structural problems that have imposed a slow order on the King Street leg will finally be addressed (now that Waterfront Toronto and the City have sorted out a cost sharing agreement).  Starting September 9, all 504 King and 503 Kingston Road cars will divert both ways via Queen and Parliament.  There will be no replacement bus service on King.


The diversion is expected to last until sometime in November.

There is no word on the status of the eastern approach to the bridge which also has a slow order on it.

7 thoughts on “King Street Update — Fall 2013

  1. I wish they would just shut down the whole street for pedestrians and streetcars, rather than apparently shutting down the whole street for streetcars and black suburbans….and making the sidewalk clogged with photographers and “fans”…

    If we seriously need the stars to arrive in a big show, they should arrive like everyone else, on foot…just have a bigger red-carpet and let them off on Duncan…then use the north side of the street for a line and the red carpet, and the entire street and south side for pedestrians…


  2. Hi Steve. Will you be analyzing the performance of the King Streetcar with the TIFF road closures?

    It would be very interesting to see how the King streetcar responds to this pseudo-ROW. The data, while not really scientific or representative of a “normal”/”uneventful” day, would give TTC an idea of the possible benefits of the King St Transit Mall.

    Cheers, Moaz

    Steve: No. The “row” is so short as to be meaningless, and it is not taken at speed. Meanwhile, the blocks on either side are plugged with traffic that cannot get through the TIFF zone. It’s always bad around TIFF, and this doesn’t help. Couple this with other lane and road closures in the area, and things are a mess. Tonight I walked from Church to John at about 6pm (many streetcars were turning at Church westbound), and I almost kept up with the through streetcar I had just missed.

    A related problem on King among other streets is that the peak period parking/stopping restrictions evaporate at 6pm, but the traffic is still heavy.


  3. Look how quickly and cheaply the private sector created rapid transit around TIFF and compare that to the hundreds of millions of dollars and many many years spent on BRT, etc just for a few kilometres. This comment is in reference to the first picture above. Beautiful. Good work, Steve and my question is why can’t we make something like this quickly and cheaply and permanently? I am talking about the fences.

    Steve: Private sector rapid transit? I think not. King Street is a total mess outside of TIFF. The “private sector” has taken over a major downtown street and to hell with the effect on traffic or transit. The “reserved lane” does nothing to offset the plugged traffic streetcars sit in on either side of that one reserved block, which they operate at slow speed anyhow to avoid hitting anything.

    Oh, and by the way, TIFF is a non-profit charity that issues tax receipts for donations, and gets a lot of funding from government agencies. Private sector my ass (and I am a TIFF donor).


  4. I suppose it would involve too much inter-departmental coordination to expect the TTC to take advantage of having no service on King from Parliament to the Don for 8+ weeks to use this time to install the new overhead on this leg of King?

    Steve: New tangent wire and hangars are a straightforward installation. More to the point, will they take the opportunity to redo the troughs under the Eastern Avenue overpass, and finally fix the switch at Parliament so that it works automatically?


  5. I took the 504 west from St Andrew Station to go to the TIFF Lightbox to see a TIFF film. The temporary TIFF Right of Way (TRoW) was faster than the mixed traffic congestion usually experienced. However I was shocked to hear only once on board the streetcar that there would be no stop at John Street, right next to the Lightbox.

    WTF? How does the TTC expect people to take streetcars to events if they make it confusing and difficult. There were many of us on the streetcar that were put out by this, as were many on the corner of King & John expecting to get on the streetcar.

    Perhaps it was crowding concerns that took this stop out of service, but it didn’t make much sense.

    Steve: I agree. The area was fenced because of the right-of-way, but this could have ended further east leaving room for a westbound stop. The sidewalk was still open (I used it many times), but carrying passengers over to Peter, not even to a temporary stop at Widmer, was very annoying.


  6. The overhead on King east will not be replaced this year, because the work is not budgeted for 2013. They are behind even on the sections that were supposed to be completed this year, never mind any additional work.

    On an unrelated note, an even more pressing issue for streetcar operations is that work on the new carhouse in Leslieville is at least six months behind. Work on the Leslie connecting track is also behind, due to issues with Toronto Water, as I understand. I would be surprised if they finished everything by the end of 2014.

    With the 504 cars on diversion, the problem with the switch from westbound Queen onto southbound Parliament has been fixed.

    Steve: Yes, amazing how a switch can get repaired when someone needs to use it for regular service.


  7. With the 504 cars on diversion, the problem with the switch from westbound Queen onto southbound Parliament has been fixed.

    Steve: Yes, amazing how a switch can get repaired when someone needs to use it for regular service.

    The switch from King eastbound to northbound Parliament is normally changed manually, at the moment it seems to be set permanently to send cars north. Parliament is, unfortunately, a frequent short-turn route so fixing it properly would also be a good idea.

    Steve: I have even seen pointmen stationed there to throw the switch for the operators. They could be put to better use driving vehicles, but the TTC has been in denial for years about problems with its streetcar switching systems.


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