Amid the biggest one-year expansion of new bike lanes in Toronto’s history, a new poll shows 84 per cent of residents across the city support building protected bike lanes.
The City of Toronto has built almost 40 kilometres of on-street bike lanes since January when EKOS Research last conducted polling on the subject. Support for building protected bike lanes has increased from 79 per cent in January.
“This has been a historic year for building new cycling infrastructure, and Torontoninans are more supportive than ever. Choosing to ride a bike is now a safer transportation option for more people across the city,” says Michael Longfield, Interim Executive Director of Cycle Toronto. “We don’t have to be timid. This is a clear message that the city can be bold and there is a strong public appetite to do more.”
The new bike lanes include several major streets including University Ave, Dundas Ave, Brimley Rd, Danforth Ave, and Bloor St. The Bloor-Danforth bike lanes now form a 15 km continuous east-west route across the city. With big changes, we have seen big results.
The new poll also found 85 percent of respondents want the city to do even more to protect vulnerable road users including senior citizens, children, and people who ride a bike. In particular, residents of households making less than $40,000 per year showed the highest support for building protected bike lanes with 91 percent agreeing.
Low-income residents often cannot afford a car and rely on walking or public transit to get around. Building bike lanes and wide sidewalks can help provide more safe transportation options to complement public transit.
“Over 80 per cent of Torontonians across the city want the city to do more to improve the safety of vulnerable road users – and they believe cyclists, students going back to school, and seniors deserve even more protection on our roads. And protected bike lanes make our streets safer for all road users,” says Longfield.
The poll asked respondents about two future projects along Yonge St: “Transform Yonge”, a proposal to transform a highway-like stretch of Yonge in North York into a safer, more business friendly main street, and “Yonge TOmorrow”, a plan to prioritize space for pedestrians along downtown Yonge. The former has 84 per cent support, the latter 79 per cent.
“Public support for active transportation is growing, so now is the time to expand this infrastructure,” says Gideon Forman, a transportation policy analyst at the David Suzuki Foundation. “And one place we absolutely need it is Yonge Street. Bike lanes there would be very popular with Toronto residents.”
The EKOS poll, which was conducted August 31-September 8, 2020, has a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
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