A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

[URBAN NOTE] “Rethinking King Street: Is Toronto ready to move forward?”

The Globe and Mail‘s Alex Bozikovic looks at the import of the proposals for a revamped King Street, as a portent of the future of the city meant not only for cars.

Who is a street for? For people in cars, or for everyone?

That’s the question at the heart of the City of Toronto project to remake King Street. The three options for the bold pilot project, revealed at a packed public meeting this week, would each give priority to streetcars and pedestrians at the expense of private vehicles.

Each would save untold hours for the 65,000 people who crawl along on the King streetcar each weekday; each would shift some of the space along the street from its current arrangement, in which the 16 per cent of users in cars occupy 64 per cent of the space. Any of these schemes would make King Street safer. They make sense.

So get ready for an endless opera of complaint. Whether City Council can tough out the inevitable car-centric whining, and defend a more just and sensible approach to the streets, will be an important indicator for the future of the city.

In Toronto, it’s not traditional to think about road users as equals. The primacy of the car is still unquestioned in city politics. Just look at the recent decision, championed by Mayor John Tory, to spend nearly an extra $1-billion to rebuild the eastern Gardiner as an expressway, to save a few minutes a day for 3 per cent of downtown commuters. You could add a lot of transit service for that kind of money.

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Written by Randy McDonald

February 18, 2017 at 9:00 pm

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