Poll shows overwhelming concern for road safety and support for lanes

TORONTO — The vast majority of people in the City of Toronto are concerned about road safety and support pedestrian and cycling infrastructure as two solutions, a new poll shows.

The Ekos survey of 809 Toronto residents found nearly nine of 10 are concerned about road safety while almost eight of 10 support protected bike lanes.

“It’s evident that most people support protected bike lanes and on-street improvements to road safety, whether they’re walking, biking or driving,” says Keagan Gartz, executive director at Cycle Toronto. “The way people move around is changing and, after seeing the shining success of the Bloor lanes for all road-users, it’s no surprise people want more safe mobility options on Danforth, Yonge and elsewhere. What used to be considered ideological is no longer. Most people, including drivers, agree that protected bike lanes make sense.”

“For years, far too many preventable deaths have occurred on our streets,” says Sean Marshall, co-founder of Walk Toronto. “The poll makes clear that the response so far has been inadequate, and Torontonians want to see that change.”

Residents support safety enhancements on the city’s most famous thoroughfare.

The poll shows strong support — 72 per cent — for Yonge Tomorrow, a proposal that would prioritize space for pedestrians on Yonge Street downtown. This portion of Yonge, near Dundas Square and Ryerson University, boasts the highest pedestrian volumes in the country. The city is currently collecting public comment on the project.

Eighty-three per cent of residents endorse Transform Yonge, a proposal that would give north Yonge Street more room for pedestrians, trees and outdoor cafés with little change to drivers’ travel time. City council will debate the project this spring.

“We’re delighted to see that more than eight in 10 Torontonians back Transform Yonge,” says Gideon Forman, a transportation analyst at the David Suzuki Foundation. “The project checks just about every box: it tackles climate change, supports local business and reclaims the vision of what North York Centre was designed to be: a vibrant corridor where residents can walk, work and shop.”

“This poll fills us with hope. Road violence is an urgent public health crisis,” says Jess Spieker, a spokesperson for Friends and Families for Safe Streets who survived being seriously injured by a driver. “This poll confirms that Torontonians are ready for the bold Vision Zero design changes that save lives. We must build safe streets to ensure the devastation we have experienced is not inflicted on anyone else.”

The poll was conducted from January 6 to 14, 2020. The margin of error on the total sample is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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For more information, please contact:

Gideon Forman, Transportation Policy Analyst, David Suzuki Foundation: 647-703-5957

Keagan Gartz, Executive Director, Cycle Toronto: 416-570-6692

Jess Spieker, spokesperson, Friends & Families for Safe Streets: 647-784-5315

Sean Marshall, spokesperson, Walk Toronto: seanmarshall1@gmail.com; 416-841-8987