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King St. gets new public spaces, installations along transit pilot corridor

The installations are expected to be completed by the end of May and most will remain for the duration of the project.

May 3, 2018
Bryann Aguilar

The corridor of the King St. transit pilot is getting a much needed facelift with the installation of new public spaces, a move the city hopes could draw more people.

In a press release on Thursday, the city announced that they have begun installing public spaces along King St. between Bathurst and Jarvis Sts., the stretch involved in the pilot. Almost 30 new sites will be opened, which the city says will add “ to the vibrancy of the street.”

The designs for 10 of the new spaces were selected from a city-held design competition, Everyone is King. The installations are expected to be completed by the end of May and most will remain for the duration of the transit pilot.

New ‘King for All’ group wants you to show some love to the King St. pilot project

“This is another sign that King Street is open for business and ready for summer,” said Mayor John Tory in the statement. “I encourage all Toronto residents and visitors to come down to King Street to see these public spaces, enjoy the patios and support local businesses.”

Since the start of the transit pilot in November 2017, which gives priority to streetcars along the busy downtown route, local businesses have been complaining about the loss of customers. The pilot removed on-street parking spaces and forced vehicles to turn right at major intersections between Bathurst and Jarvis.

The new public spaces are just a few of the initiatives the city has introduced to boost visitors on King.

One of the first features to be installed is a parklet named Face to Face/Tête à Tête on the north side of King between Victoria and Toronto Sts. It was designed by PLANT Architect Inc. in collaboration with Oriole Landscaping Ltd.

Another parklet, King Street Causeway, is expected to be installed on Thursday in south side of King St. near Widmer St. in the Entertainment District.

The city will also introduce 12 other initiatives including bicycle parking corrals, trees and Muskoka chairs, outdoor cafes and public seating areas.

“More space to both animate King and support local business will not only build on the pilot’s early successes, but bring even more life to an already busy section of our city,” Councillor Joe Cressy (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina) said.