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Toronto King Street Pilot Project

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Hey folks,

Thought I'd start a new discussion regarding the King Street transit pilot project being tested in downtown Toronto, since it would stray considerably from general streetcar news and discussion, as well as any other TTC discussion. 

Starting November 12th, 2017, the City of Toronto will initiate the project between Bathurst Street and Jarvis Street. The project's main aims are to increase efficiency of transit along that particular stretch of King St., primarily improving the service of the 504 King Streetcar in the downtown core. The 504 King is the busiest streetcar route that the TTC offers, with over sixty five thousand in daily ridership. People and Transit are being given priority over vehicle traffic.

Until this weekend, this stretch of King street was notorious for its awful efficiency both from transit and traffic perspectives. With over twenty thousand vehicles using the street for relatively local trips (which can be done via parallel streets), transit was getting clogged up. This resulted in uneven spacing between streetcars and the notorious "walking is faster than the TTC" statement.  

As of the 12th of November, cars are no longer permitted to drive straight through any intersections between Bathurst Street and Jarvis Street. They will only be allowed to turn right, and in few cases left as well, thus removing the use of King as a main thoroughfare. Exceptions to this include TTC vehicles, construction/service vehicles, emergency services, as well as taxis which are only permitted to drive through at certain times of the day. TTC streetcar stops have been moved to the opposite side of the intersections with protected waiting areas. Cyclists are permitted to continue through intersections as usual, abiding by the existing regulations. 

This project is a cost-effective way of easing traffic congestion along one of the main transit corridors in downtown Toronto, and there are further plans to implement this on other streets, such as Queen and Dundas Sts. 

Further plans are in place to construct public spaces along King in place of the on-street parking. These spaces would include, but are not limited to: bicycle parking, sidewalk cafes, open seating etc. 

Here are some links for you all to take a look at:

Main Page: https://web.toronto.ca/city-government/planning-development/planning-studies-initiatives/king-street-pilot/

Overview: https://web.toronto.ca/city-government/planning-development/planning-studies-initiatives/king-street-pilot/king-street-transit-pilot-overview/

Informative Posters: https://web.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/968e-Police-Postcard_AODA.pdf

Informational Brochures: https://web.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/9096-King-Street-Brochure_Oct25_Web.pdf

So let's see what you all think of it? Questions? Suggestions/Criticisms? Or even your own adjustments? Let the discussion begin!

 

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So after a month into the pilot, we have some statistics from U of T, with TTCs coming within the next few weeks:

In the evening rush hour, the following improvements were noted:

-WB streetcars travelling along the pilot route have seen a 24% reduction in travel time, at 17 minutes instead of 23. 

-EB streetcars have seen a 20 reduction in travel time, from 21 minutes to 16.

In the article linked below, the voter results show that 77% agree that it is quicker than before. The multiple exhibits of evidence show that the $1.5 million investment is paying off in some way.

The success of the pilot is said to have improved ridership along the 504/514, the routes using the pilot. Unfortunately, this is really proving how badly TTC needs its new Flexities from BBD. The newest flexities were originally bound for the 512; however, they are now being sent to serve the 504, as normal runs or unscheduled extras. 

The only primary transit issues that need looking into at this point are, of course the delivery of the Flexities, but also traffic light signalling and prioritization. 

 

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40 minutes ago, MiWay0310 said:

The only primary transit issues that need looking into at this point are, of course the delivery of the Flexities, but also traffic light signalling and prioritization.

The far-side stops are not so great at the busy intersections that take a while to cross. University is a bad one. Yonge and Spadina also have their issues.

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9 minutes ago, Ed T. said:

The far-side stops are not so great at the busy intersections that take a while to cross. University is a bad one. Yonge and Spadina also have their issues.

This is true, although once the traffic light priority signalling is sorted out, I suppose we'll see some improvements in the far side stops. 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, jordankcw said:

There still needs to be some sort of police presence in the area as there are a fair amount of drivers who haven't gotten the memo about the King St. Pilot yet.

There is; however, it has been reduced over the past weeks as they have expected people to get used to the new system. I think something like 506 tickets were handed out in the 3 or 4th week, down from the thousands of warnings in the first week. Its a $110 fine and 2 points, so definitely incentive not to go down where you aren't supposed to.

Regardless, there will always be some sort of enforcement because there will always be people who think they can get away with it...

29 minutes ago, Cityflyer said:

Why don't they put all the ALRVs currently on 501 to 504 if capacity is such an issue?

They're trying to get as many as possible, but without affecting other routes too much. The newest flexities were destined for the 512 but they're putting some on the 504 both as scheduled cars and as unscheduled extras. The 514 is an accessible route so it only gets flexities. 

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1 hour ago, Cityflyer said:

Why don't they put all the ALRVs currently on 501 to 504 if capacity is such an issue?

And replace them with what CLRVs?

 

Dan

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3 hours ago, Cityflyer said:

Why don't they put all the ALRVs currently on 501 to 504 if capacity is such an issue?

Flexities will already be putting pressure on Dundas West and Broadview - adding ALRVs as well would increase it further (and the proposed turnback loop at Broadview just north of Queen never did get built)

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4 hours ago, smallspy said:

And replace them with what CLRVs?

Exactly. The anecdotal comments I've heard, is that some 501 passengers are choosing to use 504 instead, as it's significantly faster.

So if 501 ridership is down and 504 ridership is up, then swapping 10 or 20 of them over seems like the right thing to do. Though perhaps those with actual data know better.

 

2 hours ago, dowlingm said:

Flexities will already be putting pressure on Dundas West and Broadview - adding ALRVs as well would increase it further (and the proposed turnback loop at Broadview just north of Queen never did get built)

I have no idea how they think they can finish this conversion to Flexity without at least extending the 504 platform at Broadview somehow. You can literally only get one streetcar into it. It's especially annoying that they've removed the stop at Danforth and Broadview, as at least when it was completely back up previously, you could get out and walk 90 metres.

 

Now you have to be pyscic and get off at Wolfrey and walk 350 metres.

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1 hour ago, nfitz said:

Exactly. The anecdotal comments I've heard, is that some 501 passengers are choosing to use 504 instead, as it's significantly faster.

So if 501 ridership is down and 504 ridership is up, then swapping 10 or 20 of them over seems like the right thing to do. Though perhaps those with actual data know better.

When I was looking earlier today there were 16 artics on Queen and 9 regulars. You're basically saying get rid of them all.

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15 hours ago, WoodbineSecondExit said:

When I was looking earlier today there were 16 artics on Queen and 9 regulars. You're basically saying get rid of them all.

All or half. How crowded are they compared to usual?

There were usually in the low 20s when I looked last week.

Gosh, and we have car 4427 running on route 304 right now. That might be a first.

 

edit - Tuesday 3 pm. 17 ALRVs on 501.  1 on 505.

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23 hours ago, nfitz said:

Exactly. The anecdotal comments I've heard, is that some 501 passengers are choosing to use 504 instead, as it's significantly faster.

So if 501 ridership is down and 504 ridership is up, then swapping 10 or 20 of them over seems like the right thing to do. Though perhaps those with actual data know better.

 

I have no idea how they think they can finish this conversion to Flexity without at least extending the 504 platform at Broadview somehow. You can literally only get one streetcar into it. It's especially annoying that they've removed the stop at Danforth and Broadview, as at least when it was completely back up previously, you could get out and walk 90 metres.

 

Now you have to be pyscic and get off at Wolfrey and walk 350 metres.

Is there even room to extend the Platforms at Broadview? If they're going to do anything, just leave the platforms as is, but extend the 505 to Chester or Donlands station. Jones would be nice for streetcar service and could serve other areas of Dundas. It would be expensive, but bring in new streetcar service (Ridership justification analysis pending). As for Chester, just have it go down Danforth or something. Maybe that station's ridership will increase. 

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Quick update on the progress of the KSP, exactly one month in now.

The TTC is now reworking schedules to fit the new and efficient flow of streetcars, while the city figures out traffic light signalling priority. The TTC has around 14 streetcars operating at peak periods on the KSP, in conjunction with the older C/ALRVs, although I can't confirm if these statistics account for the 514 (I think they do). 

It also been reported that vehicle traffic has largely been unaffected, with delays only being 1 or 2 minutes more. Other routes are faster or have seen no change in traffic movement/efficiency. 

Suggested articles:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/king-street-pilot-first-results-1.4444416

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/toronto-touts-success-of-king-street-pilot-project/article37310715/

http://toronto.citynews.ca/2017/12/12/king-street-transit-pilot-data/

Still waiting on the TTC to release its own formal progress report; should be in the coming weeks.

Despite the complaints from business owners about reduced client traffic, I think they'll be satisfied by the open spaces when it warms up a bit. I'm actually looking forward to those open-concept spaces. 

Thoughts?

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On 05/12/2017 at 9:50 PM, Streety McCarface said:

Is there even room to extend the Platforms at Broadview?

Significantly. If you adjust the 504 track, so it goes straight longer, then curves so it doesn't join the other track until in Erindale, you can then push the platform, along the curve, most of the way to Erindale, with only a bit of track replacement and some concrete work.  If you shift the walkway to the 505 platform back just a bit, so that the length before is about 1 Flexity instead of 1.25 Flexities (2.5 CLRVs), you can then just about squeeze 2 Flexities on the new extended and curved platform.

 

You can get more radical. Move the track to the north edge of Erindale, so that you can go further east, before you curve. Close a short bit of Erindale to autos, and make the platform a bit longer.  Redo all the track north of Danforth, and reverse the loop so you head in clockwise like Main, instead of counter-clockwise. Then extra streetcars will spill out onto Erindale instead of blocking Broadview, and passengers boarding don't have to walk far to a streetcar. If you remove autos, you could put an unloading zone for another couple of Flexities out there.

 

And we still aren't into a massive rebuild - or destroying the park again.

 

Compared to Broadview, Dundas West is quite easy. Could probably cobble something together quickly with pylons, and some barriers to add an extra car.

 

 

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5 hours ago, nfitz said:

Significantly. If you adjust the 504 track, so it goes straight longer, then curves so it doesn't join the other track until in Erindale, you can then push the platform, along the curve, most of the way to Erindale, with only a bit of track replacement and some concrete work.  If you shift the walkway to the 505 platform back just a bit, so that the length before is about 1 Flexity instead of 1.25 Flexities (2.5 CLRVs), you can then just about squeeze 2 Flexities on the new extended and curved platform.

 

You can get more radical. Move the track to the north edge of Erindale, so that you can go further east, before you curve. Close a short bit of Erindale to autos, and make the platform a bit longer.  Redo all the track north of Danforth, and reverse the loop so you head in clockwise like Main, instead of counter-clockwise. Then extra streetcars will spill out onto Erindale instead of blocking Broadview, and passengers boarding don't have to walk far to a streetcar. If you remove autos, you could put an unloading zone for another couple of Flexities out there.

I feel like they should rework all of it, and I agree on coming in clockwise rather than CCW. 

I was thinking, if they could make it CCW, they could probably add a mini "siding" (see red marking below) to allow a Flexity to lay over, while removing on-street parking on that side, and then pick up passengers in the actual station when its time to go. That track could rejoin the existing one on a curved switch. See diagram. 

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Perhaps you guys could screenshot the map and touch it up with Paint so illustrate your ideas (if you have the patience:))? 

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I know we're only a month into the KSP, and haven't seen enough to accurately judge yet, BUT: On a cursory glance, do any of you think of replicating this street layout on parallel streets in the future, such as Queen and Dundas as a viable option?

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1 hour ago, MiWay0310 said:

I know we're only a month into the KSP, and haven't seen enough to accurately judge yet, BUT: On a cursory glance, do any of you think of replicating this street layout on parallel streets in the future, such as Queen and Dundas as a viable option?

On Queen: perhaps. But I think that's also dependent on how much ridership grows upon the conversion of the route to LFLRVs. The way things are today, you'd be hard-pressed to convince any politician that we need two parallel streetcar ROWs downtown.

 

Dundas? Not going to work very well. There are no paralleling streets nearby that allow that east-west traffic can use to easily bypass it.

 

Dan

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1 hour ago, MiWay0310 said:

I know we're only a month into the KSP, and haven't seen enough to accurately judge yet, BUT: On a cursory glance, do any of you think of replicating this street layout on parallel streets in the future, such as Queen and Dundas as a viable option?

God I hope not. King I understand that the sacrifice is worth it because of the high ridership. But there have to be alternative arterial roads for that displaced king traffic to go TO.

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26 minutes ago, smallspy said:

On Queen: perhaps. But I think that's also dependent on how much ridership grows upon the conversion of the route to LFLRVs. The way things are today, you'd be hard-pressed to convince any politician that we need two parallel streetcar ROWs downtown.

 

Dundas? Not going to work very well. There are no paralleling streets nearby that allow that east-west traffic can use to easily bypass it.

 

Dan

 

17 minutes ago, Bus_Medic said:

God I hope not. King I understand that the sacrifice is worth it because of the high ridership. But there have to be alternative arterial roads for that displaced king traffic to go TO.

I think Queen could be a possibility, but I agree on the Dundas point of view. Do you think that Richmond/Adelaide could share the overflow from King, IF there were to be a Queen ROW? So far the results show an increase in ridership and at this time next year we'll have more LFLRVs to handle capacity. I'm curious if the city would consider a Queen Pilot, assuming the KSP goes well (which it already is, and we're only one month in, in the winter, at that), and if the alternate routes are found to be viable options. 

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Richmond and Adelaide are already plagued with traffic flow issues as it is throughout the majority of the weekday. The car and truck also contends with bike lanes, reduced speeds (not that anyone follows the limit) and non-synchronized signals that disrupts proper traffic flow.

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6 hours ago, TDE said:

Richmond and Adelaide are already plagued with traffic flow issues as it is throughout the majority of the weekday. The car and truck also contends with bike lanes, reduced speeds (not that anyone follows the limit) and non-synchronized signals that disrupts proper traffic flow.

While I agree that the bike lane is a problem (and hopefully one that can be fixed if the King Pilot is made permanent), the lights are synchronized in the appropriate directions at rush hour.

 

Dan

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I would be more concerned about extending the existing pilot, particularly east since the street grid to the west is disrupted and Front won't be extended.

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22 hours ago, smallspy said:

On Queen: perhaps. But I think that's also dependent on how much ridership grows upon the conversion of the route to LFLRVs. The way things are today, you'd be hard-pressed to convince any politician that we need two parallel streetcar ROWs downtown.

 

Dundas? Not going to work very well. There are no paralleling streets nearby that allow that east-west traffic can use to easily bypass it.

 

Dan

What about college? Except just have drivers prohibited from turning left? 

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30 minutes ago, Streety McCarface said:

What about college? Except just have drivers prohibited from turning left? 

I'd say the same issue as Dundas. Not enough room for displaced traffic. Dundas is too far South, and Harbord/Hoskin/Qns Pk is just too busy as it is, not to mention littered with traffic lights everywhere. Its also only one lane. 

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