Today, I’d like to discuss options for fixing (or at least improving) the 504 King car in Toronto.
The 504 King car currently operates from Dundas West subway station in the west, south along Roncesvalles Avenue, then east along King Street to the Don Valley where King Street merges into Queen Street. The 504 then runs along Queen Street to Broadview Avenue where it heads north to Broadview subway station. This means the King car runs through the heavily congested downtown core which leads to many delays.
Options to fix or improve the 504 King car include:
1) Remove cars from King Street. While this seems logical – especially through the downtown core, and during rush hour, there is one huge obstacle: enforcement. Police, especially at first, would have to be heavily enforced in enforcing this, and even then those who live and/or work in the ‘no car’ zone would still have to allowed to take their cars along that portion of King Street. And while police unintentionally deal with a ‘legal’ car along the route, others who should not driving in the area may try through the area. Also, this option does not seem to have much support in City Hall.
2) Divide up the 504. I have already spoken about a similar idea with regards to the 501 Queen car. This could occur with the 504 as well. The split could look like this:
a) One car could operate from Dundas West along the current route until Church Street. There it could turn north on Church Street, west on Richmond Street, south on Victoria Street, east along Adelaide Street, south on Church Street, and then west along King Street to Dundas West. With the addition of a connection from eastbound King Street to southbound Church Street, the car could then head south along Church Street, west along Wellington Street, north along York Street, and then west along King. The latter would be my preference.
b) The ‘504 King’ would run from Sunnyside Loop (at the southwest corner of Roncesvalles Avenue) east along King Street and up to Broadview station.
c) The 508 Lakeshore car, now only a rush hour route, could be retained and improved (i.e. more streetcars dedicated to the route) could operate during rush hours.
d) The 503 could be extended from rush hour to all day service, allowing for more cars from the east to get into downtown. Or, another new route could be created to operate from Broadview station which would copy the 503’s route from King and Broadview into downtown and back again. This latter option would be my preference.
3) The 504 King car could simply see more streetcars assigned to it. This would allow for more options, especially if one streetcar is short turned. However, this does not fix congestion issues and the potential exists that the streetcars would simply bunch up thus eliminating any potential benefit.
My personal preference would be for option #2, breaking up the 504 car into three routes while retaining the 503 and 508. This would help to get people into and out of the downtown core while stopping an issue at one end of the line from effecting the rest of the route.