Support for King Street pilot has declined but plurality still support it: poll
Streetcars travels along King Street West during the King Street Pilot Project.
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Thursday, February 15, 2018 8:59AM EST
Support for the King Street pilot appears to be trending downward though a plurality of Torontonians still say that they approve of the initiative, a new poll has found.
The Forum Research poll of 977 randomly selected residents found that 42 per cent of them either strongly or somewhat approve of the pilot while 29 per cent strongly or somewhat disapprove of it and 21 per cent don’t have an opinion either way.
The result marks a slight contrast from a poll conducted when the pilot went into effect in November. In that poll 51 per cent of respondents said that they either strongly or somewhat approved of the pilot and only 23 per cent indicated that they strongly or somewhat disapproved of it.
In the latest poll, support for the pilot was highest among downtown residents (59 per cent), cyclists (61 per cent) and those who commute to work or school via public transit (50 per cent). Not surprisingly, support was lower among those who commute using a private vehicle (31 per cent) and those living in the boroughs of North York (32 per cent), Etobicoke (36 per cent) and Scarborough (39 per cent).
“Approval for the pilot is down, and disapproval is up. But overall, more people still approve than disapprove,” Forum Research President Lorne Bozinoff, said in a press release. “Generally, both drivers and transit users are saying their usage of King isn’t going to change because of the pilot, so making sure the data supports the changes will be important as the pilot progresses.”
The King Street pilot restricts traffic between Bathurst and Jarvis streets in an effort to expedite the flow of streetcars through the busy corridor.
Since going into effect, a number of local restaurant owners have waged a war of words with Mayor John Tory over a decline in business that they blame on the pilot.
The city has in turn introduced a number of initiatives to encourage residents to continue to visit King Street, including a $10 discount on parking on parallel streets.
The city has also released troves of data indicating that the pilot is having its desired effect.
According to the latest bath released in January, the average commute time from Jarvis to Bathurst Street on the 504 streetcar has improved by up to four minutes while vehicular commute times on parallel routes have been minimally effected.
The Forum Research poll did ask respondents how the pilot will impact their use of King Street and a plurality (39 per cent) said that it won’t. Meanwhile, about 12 per cent of respondents said that they will use the street more and 23 per cent said that they will use it less.
Drivers were the most likely to say that they would use King Street less (35 per cent), though a slight plurality of them still said that their use of the street would not be impacted by the pilot (38 per cent).
Cyclists (27 per cent) and pedestrians (22 per cent) were the most likely to say that they would use King Street more in the wake of the pilot being introduced.
The poll is considered accurate to within three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.