King Street toronto

Small businesses say lack of parking on King St. is killing them

The King Street Pilot Project has been generating plenty of buzz in Toronto since it launched two weeks ago, much of it falling on opposite ends of the good/bad spectrum.

Streetcar riders love the new traffic rules for shortening their commutes, while die-hard motorists (like mayoral candidate Doug Ford) say the project is a "disaster" that represents "a war on the car."

Now that we're half-a-month in, businesses along King West are starting to gauge how the project might impact sales figures – and some restaurant, bar and retail store owners say the numbers don't look good.

Italian bakery Forno Cultura, located under WVRST at 609 King St. W, told the Toronto Star it has seen a 20 per cent drop in sales since the pilot project began.

"The truth is that at this rate our business that has been growing will be out of business within a year," said Laleh Larijani to The Star this weekend, noting that between 50-100 fewer customers per day have been coming in to Forno Cultura.

It should be noted, however, that the weather has also cooled down significantly in recent weeks – which never bodes well for the amount of foot traffic in our chilly city.

Plus, as some advocates argue, the number of pedestrians (and thus potential customers) using King Street could actually go up quite a bit in the long run.

Dan Gunam of Calii Love (on King near Peter) told The Star that he wishes the pilot project would have launched over the summer, when it was still warm enough to walk outside.

Gunam says that his restaurant's sales are down, particularly those made through delivery services like Uber Eats, and worries that a lack of parking along King West this winter will hinder people from stopping at local restaurants.

Larijani says she is attempting to resolve some of these issues by canvasing local businesses for support and communicating with city council. She is hoping to have a meeting with Mayor John Tory soon.

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