A group of King Street restaurant owners is fighting back against the King Street Pilot project.
Led by Ashley Tollis, the GM of the N’Awlins Jazz Bar, they want to lure diners to King street amid continuing concerns about the impact the King street pilot is having on their bottom lines.
“We’re hoping that the ‘7 after 7’ promotion will show city council that the street is and can be bustling again at that time and maybe lift some of these driving restrictions to bring the nightlife back to the area,” Tollis explained.
During the promotion, select drinks and appetizers will be sold for 7-dollars after 7 pm.
The King Street pilot was launched in November 2017 as a way to prioritize the movement of streetcars along a busy stretch of King Street between Bathurst and Jarvis. But restaurant owners insist they’ve lost money and other eateries have been forced to close.
City Councillor Joe Cressy says it’s been such a success and there’s no doubt it will become permanent.
“Before we put it in, 65,000 rode the streetcar everyday. Today, it’s more than 83,000 people. That’s like building a subway line in the heart of downtown for a fraction of the cost. And so, King Street is working better than it ever has,” said Cressy.
A final city council vote on the pilot is coming up in the spring. Vehicular traffic is forced to turn right at every major intersection on King between Bathurst and Jarvis, and there is no street parking in this stretch.