Project aims to tackle tran­sit woes

Sentinel-Review (Woodstock) - - NEWS - LIAM CASEY

TORONTO — A com­plex new project aimed at tack­ling tran­sit woes along a bustling street in Canada’s most pop­u­lous city got its first real test with com­muters Mon­day, draw­ing mixed re­ac­tions from mo­torists and tran­sit users.

The King Street pi­lot project in Toronto has banned cars from trav­el­ling straight through a busy stretch of the down­town road cut­ting through the city’s fi­nan­cial and en­ter­tain­ment dis­tricts, with only a few ex­cep­tions.

The project — which launched Sun­day and will run for a year — aims to give pri­or­ity to street­cars along what is the busiest sur­face tran­sit route in the city. The thor­ough­fare, where street­cars travel in the cen­tre lanes, has been plagued by slow travel speeds and over­crowd­ing.

Dur­ing Mon­day’s morn­ing rush hour, tran­sit users and driv­ers ex­pressed vary­ing opin­ions on the new rules in ef­fect.

For one reg­u­lar com­muter, the project seemed an ini­tial suc­cess.

“I think it’s great, I really do,” said Eve Lyons, who either walks a two-kilo­me­tre stretch along King Street or takes the street­car to work ev­ery week­day. “This will take me about eight min­utes now, rather than 20, 25 min­utes.”

Lau­ren Ir­win, an­other com­muter who takes the street­car to and from work, was also op­ti­mistic about the project.

“I think it might make it a lit­tle bit faster, if to­day is an ex­am­ple,” she said. “Less car traf­fic the bet­ter. More peo­ple should take pub­lic tran­sit.”

For some driv­ers, how­ever, the changes ap­peared un­ex­pected and caused con­fu­sion.

Jake Fra­chette sat de­jected in his car af­ter be­ing pulled over by a po­lice of­fi­cer on the street af­ter he drove through a busy in­ter­sec­tion.

“Hon­estly, I had no idea about this,” he said. “I guess it’s good for com­muters, I don’t know, but it’s also kind of an­noy­ing.”

It will take time for driv­ers to grow ac­cus­tomed to the new rules, po­lice ac­knowl­edged.

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