JOHN TORY’S KING STREET DISASTER:
RELIEF NOWHERE IN SIGHT
By Doug Ford
The car exclusion zone on King Street has now been in place for the past couple of months. What I have heard and seen from small business owners is that sales have sunk to an all-time low, traffic has been driven away from King Street, and the neighbourhood has become less vibrant.
Gridlock has become unbearable on neighboring streets; businesses are suffering devastating consequences; and drivers are getting fined during the holidays.
I am shocked as I am amazed that John Tory continues to stand by this streetcar disaster that no one desired.
Where did Tory think the millions of motorists were supposed to go? How did he think that businesses could survive a fifty percent decrease in revenues? Why did he think it would be fair to hand out Tory Tickets of $110 and two demerit points? Is all of this worth a couple of minutes saved on the streetcar?
It seems that John Tory just doesn’t care.
We all want our city to be the best place to live, work and raise a family. But John Tory’s car exclusion zone is hurting the economic prosperity of King Street businesses, the hundreds of jobs, and commuters that need to get to and from work. Tory rolled the dice in a politically motivated move, hoping to score cheap political points while commuters, businesses, economic development and tourism all be damned. Allowing political schemes to drive city policies shows Tory’s weak leadership.
The city is reviewing the project, but one of my biggest concerns is that the facts will be glossed over. To say that businesses aren’t hurting, or that travel times on neighbouring streets have only increased marginally is scandalous. A City Hall journalist conducted a test drive and results showed that travel times on adjacent streets more than doubled, and that was outside of rush hour.
While I know that John Tory will not admit to failure and cancel the project, I am urging him to at the very least limit the pilot project to the end of January 2018. The city must then bring in a third-party, arm’s-length organization to consult with businesses and stakeholders, study the changes to street car and vehicular travel times so that Council can review the project and vote on it immediately. This change needs to be done today – not next week or the next month.
If congestion on neighbouring streets does not go down, and if business revenues are still sagging, and if the streetcar travel times do not decrease beyond a couple of minutes, then Tory needs to wake up, stop using commuters as pawns, and scrap this ridiculous King car and business exclusion zone.
[Editor’s Note: When this article was submitted BIA Buzz reached out to the Mayor’s Office for a response. We also asked the contiguous BIAs that are affected for comments from their members. After 2 weeks, BIA Buzz has not received any response from the Mayor or St. Lawrence Market BIA, Financial District BIA and Toronto Entertainment District BIA.]