Future of King Street: Toronto wants bold, innovative design

King StreetThe future of King Street will be the focus of a study by The City of Toronto with a panel discussion downtown today,  exploring ideas  from a variety of perspectives, including pedestrians, commuters and businesses.

The King Street visioning study is looking at bold, transformative and innovative street design solutions that will move people more efficiently while creating unique public places along this key downtown surface-transit corridor.

“Serving some of our most populated areas, King Street is a critical route in the downtown surface transit network,” said Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat. “With job and housing growth continuing along the corridor, the time is now to rethink how King functions as a street. This study will look at optimizing transit, better pedestrian and retail experiences, and improving public spaces.”

The ticketed launch event, hosted in collaboration with the Pembina Institute, Our Future King: Rethinking Toronto’s Busiest Surface Transit Corridor is taking place today, June 16, at Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Ave. (at the University of Toronto) from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The panel discussion will be live-streamed. A link to the live stream will be available on the project website. Join the conversation on Twitter by following @CityPlanTO and using #RethinkKing and #TOcore.

Busiest transit route

“King Street is the busiest surface transit route in the city, carrying 65,000 transit riders on an average weekday,” said TTC CEO Andy Byford. “Those transit vehicles currently share the road with approximately 20,000 passenger vehicles, making it challenging to keep transit service running smoothly. The TTC will be working closely with the City as it commences a public conversation on moving people more efficiently along the corridor.”

King Street is one of Toronto’s major east-west corridors crossing downtown. King Street connects the Financial District with revitalized industrial areas on the shoulders of the core – Liberty Village, King-Spadina, King-Parliament, St. Lawrence and Corktown – that have become vibrant, mixed-use urban districts known for their cultural richness and creative scenes.

The King Street visioning study will reimagine how the corridor can move people more efficiently and how the design of the public realm can be improved to create better transit and a better pedestrian street. The study will examine King Street between Dufferin Street in the west and River Street in the east, recognizing its diverse and varying character segments. The vision for the corridor will be grounded in evidence including public and stakeholder input, observations from the public life study, ridership metrics, and best practices from cities around the world, to support a pilot project anticipated for mid-2017.

This visioning study is part of TOcore, an inter-divisional project led by the City Planning division that is examining how Toronto’s Downtown should grow and what physical and social infrastructure it will need to support community and individual well-being, attract investment and succeed in the world economy.

Key City divisions and agencies, such as Transportation Services, the Toronto Transit Commission and the Toronto Parking Authority, are participating in the TOcore study and will be involved throughout the visioning exercise.

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