Mark Saunders will ease congestion by reopening King Street to cars

“People want to get in their car or on their bike and move - and we are not moving.” – Mark Saunders

Toronto – Even more gridlock is coming to Toronto’s downtown core starting Monday when a large stretch of Queen Street will be closed for more than four years. If immediate action isn’t taken, movement will become impossible in the current state: Richmond and Adelaide are hampered by bike lanes and construction and King Street is barred for normal traffic.

“Toronto’s congestion is often made worse by bad planning and we can’t let this be another one of those situations,” said Saunders. “Toronto is already ranked as the third most congested city in North America and we will get even closer to number one if we don’t make adjustments during the Queen Street closure.”

As Mayor, Saunders would do the following to ease congestion downtown:

  • Open up King Street to all traffic.
  • Expedite construction lane closures on Richmond and Adelaide.
  • Re-evaluate bike lanes on Richmond and Adelaide based on actual usage and net impact of congestion.

In 2019, City Council permanently stopped cars from being able to drive along King Street, but since then, Toronto’s downtown core has changed significantly. TTC’s most recent data shows that overall ridership is at 70 percent of pre-COVID levels. Furthermore, a large portion of streetcar customers are office commuters, and in March 2023, streetcar demand was at 53 percent, driven largely by people’s preference to work from home.

“Last year, people in Toronto lost 118 hours of their time waiting in traffic which equals five days per year,” said Saunders. “A city that flows improves our quality of life and improves the economy. It just makes sense to make it easier for people to get around in the downtown core to work, shop and eat.”

As Mayor, Mark Saunders would work with Council to look at other ways to reduce congestion on major roads across the city. In the coming weeks, he will announce more details of his plan to help people get around more easily.

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