King Street pilot

Support for the King St. pilot is down in Toronto

Public opinion is shifting when it comes to the King Street Transit Pilot, and analysts think it might actually have something to do with those ice-themed restaurant protests.

The Toronto-based market research firm Forum has released the results of a poll it conducted between February 7 and 8 of this year. A total of 977 randomly selected Toronto voters were surveyed by telephone for the poll, each of whom were asked how familiar they are with details of the transit pilot.

Forum found that a "similar proportion" of people were familiar with the King Street pilot, about 68 per cent, as when the project launched in November.

What does seems to have changed is how people feel about the changes to King Street, where car traffic has been restricted between Bathurst and Jarvis in favour of moving streetcars (and the some 65,000 commuters who ride them every day) more reliably and quickly.

About 42 per cent of respondents said they approved of the pilot when surveyed last week, with 24 per cent saying they "strongly approve." In November, these measures were higher at 50 per cent and 33 per cent, respectively.

Disapproval rates were also up, with 29 per cent of respondents saying they disapprove of the pilot project this time around. In November, that number was 24 per cent.

When asked if this is significant, Forum Research president Lorne Bozinoff said that it's a  "definite shift in public opinion" (though Twitter tells another story).

"Change in public opinion is more than the margin of error," he said, attributing the drop in approval rates to peoples' experience travelling along the new King Street, the concerts of merchants about lost business, "finger ice sculptures" and "PR events like playing road hockey on King St."

Interestingly (or maybe not) people who were most likely to say they approved of the pilot project live in downtown Toronto (59 per cent), take public transit to work (49 per cent), and have post-graduate degrees (47 per cent.)

Lead photo by

David Lussier


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