Alex Pierson: What happens when something that is working isn’t working for all
What happens when something that is working isn’t working for all~ Which side do you side with?
The King St. Pilot now into its third week has been declared, by some, a raving success. Ok- maybe. As far as getting street cars moving and commuters on their way- yes it is a success. But can we really celebrate this transit feat if it is coming at the cost of businesses and the very lively hoods of those whose bottom lines depend on the bustling traffic that has virtually disappeared?
While it IS crucial to get people where they need to go and King St WAS in need of a solution – this solution will come at a cost. The pilot is slated for one year—but we all know “Pilot” is actually code for “suck it up”- it ain’t going away. Just ask the business folks on Bloor st –now stuck with business killing bike lanes.
Those saying it is only a year—suck it up, either work for the government or have zero clue how business works. This is the holiday season–King Street should be booming. Instead it’s going bust with some owners saying business is down by 40 %. So What happens in January when it’s colder- the parties stop and spending generally slows .
That decline will get worse. Small business can’t survive with that kind of sustained loss. Add that to increased hydro rates and a minimum wage hike businesses weren’t expecting and closed signs will go up far sooner than a year.
John Tory is a business man—he, more than anyone, should understand this. But he is the mayor for all. His job is to see the bigger picture. So who does he help? Will he give these businesses some kind of break? A tax break? I wouldn’t count on it— the folks on Eglinton being wiped out by LRT construction aren’t getting any breaks.
The soul of King Street and what makes it special is the people who meet to hang there and the businesses that cater to their hipster hanging. Lose one or the other and that dies. So Sure the street cars are moving—but for businesses trying to survive there is no desire for this disaster!