Patio season will look different on King St. this year, as business owners take the city up on its offer to spill out onto the streets.
As part of the King St. pilot project, which was established last fall to speed up transit along the congested corridor, space for patios and public seating areas have been created in the curbside lane on King St. The city waived the application fee for King St. businesses between Jarvis and Bathurst Sts. to set up in those spaces for the duration of the pilot project.
Nine business-operated patios with table service have been approved, with a 10th patio pending.
“In effect, we’re trying to turn King St. into the front porch for the city,” said Joe Cressy, the councillor for Ward 20 Trinity-Spadina.
He said the patios and public installations were proposed “with the intention of creating a new and improved King St. — one where people don’t simply travel through King St., but rather people travel to King St.
Since the pilot began eight months ago, businesses along the corridor have complained the pilot project is impacting revenue. The city has invested in boosting sales at restaurants affected by the pilot.
The TTC said ridership on streetcars is up significantly along the route.
Nick Di Donato, president and CEO of Liberty Entertainment Group, said the 60-seat patio at Cibo Wine Bar and the 30-seat patio at Spice Route, an Asian bistro and bar, will be open this week. He called the two patios, both just west of Spadina Ave., “quite a unique opportunity.”
“It’s an opportunity to try and embrace the pilot project and see if we can make it work as a business,” he said.