King Street Travel Times: Fall 2022 Update

Updated December 20, 2022: Detailed charts have been added for the segments between Jarvis and Yonge, and between Yonge and University. Click here to jump to the new part of the article.

This article continues a series looking at the travel times on King Street in the “transit priority” segment between Bathurst and Jarvis Streets with data to the end of November 2022.

With the resumption of commercial and social activities, the comparative calm on King has disappeared, and the street can be very busy in the Entertainment District especially in the evening. The laissez-faire approach to traffic management and enforcement on King did not matter much during the pandemic shutdowns, but the benefits of the priority area are slowly being lost.

This echoes other aspects of the transit system where as a City we seem to have forgotten how to run things well under “normal” conditions either because of permanent funding cuts, or because we have forgotten the effort needed to deal with heavier demand on our services and infrastructure.

The first set of charts in the article takes the long view starting in 2016 to show the evolution from before the transit priority zone was created, then the effect of that zone, the arrival of the pandemic and the return to pre-pandemic activity.

There are two distinct sections of King Street. East of University is the business district, and it is less affected, at least from a transit travel time point of view, because activity there is still below “normal”, pre-pandemic conditions. However, interference from north-south traffic backlogs at intersections is starting to have an effect, mainly in the PM peak. West of University is the Entertainment District and its high density residential neighbourhood where one might ask “what pandemic?” from the number of pedestrians and motorists on the streets.

Later in the article, I will review changes in travel times over short segments between Jarvis and Bathurst.

The situation on King with deterioration of the transit priority area’s benefit was the subject of a recent item by the CBC: What’s Happened to the King Street Transit Corridor?

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