Big Ideas poll: More than half of Torontonians want a DRL
A new subway line - the Downtown Relief Line - has support from 52 per cent of Torontonians, a poll says.
By: Marco Chown Oved Staff Reporter, Published on Fri Jul 18 2014
For more than half of Torontonians, D-R-L spells relief.
Fifty two per cent of those surveyed put the DRL on their shortlist of ideas for Toronto’s future. And they want it now.
“The DRL is clearly the leader” said John Corbett, vice-president of Forum Research, which took the top 35 ideas collected by the Star’s Big Ideas project and performed a statistically valid citywide poll.
“We felt that there hadn’t been so much of a discussion about real interesting ideas as there had been about the same old ideas,” said Corbett. “We wanted to stir the pot a bit in a mayoral election year and get people thinking about the future of the city. And we figured the best way to do that was to piggy back on a project that the Star had already initiated.”
The results of the poll were clear, he said.
“Transit is the big issue. Transit is what everyone talks about and the DRL is very important to Torontonians — we’ve found that in our other research as well.”
But when you delve down into the numbers, it’s people who live closest to the proposed new line who want it most.
More than 60 per cent of those who live in the old City of Toronto, East York and North York support the line’s construction. Yet less than 40 per cent of those who live in Etobicoke and Scarborough said it was a priority.
“This is what we found about a lot of these ideas: that they are local,” said Corbett.
The strongest support for the DRL came from high earners and those who have post-secondary and graduate degrees, while low earners and those who hadn’t earned college or university degrees ranked it much lower.
“It’s not so much a socio-economic divide as an ideological one,” he said.
The people who are least enthusiastic about the downtown relief line tend to support Mayor Rob Ford [see key political stats for Rob Ford], he said.
“Those two categories match up very well,” said Corbett.
The poll asked 754 Torontonians whether each idea should be put on a short list of the best ideas, whether it was worth considering or whether it was just another idea. The margin of error is 4 per cent 19 out of 20 times.
Rounding out the top five ideas were better city communication, increased development charges for parks and transit, solar panels on public buildings and turning abandoned spaces into parks.
Divided priorities is the story of the poll, with virtually every top idea supported strongly by some in the city and weakly by others.
The city’s lowest earners put improving accessibility on the TTC as one of their top priorities, while that idea was ranked among the lowest by the city’s wealthiest inhabitants.
Drivers were far more likely to support eliminating the land transfer tax than transit riders and young people want the city to renew apartment towers to create energy-efficient, mixed-use neighbourhoods, while older people did not.
There were several ideas that weren’t popular among any groups, including de-amalgamating the city and disarming police officers.
Only those who make less than $20,000 per year and those who make more than $250,000 per year strongly supported burying the Gardiner Expressway.
The Star is still accepting votes on its online poll of Big Ideas.
Top ideas from the Big Ideas Project
1. Build the Downtown Relief Line now — 52 per cent
2. Reform city communications to improve coordination across departments and keep citizens better informed — 50 per cent
3. Increase development charges on developers to pay for more transit and green spaces — 50 per cent
4. Install solar power panels on all city-owned buildings — 49 per cent
5. Using abandoned spaces for new parks and financing existing parks in new ways — 49 per cent
6. Amalgamate all regional transit agencies including the TTC into one transit agency for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area — 45 per cent
7. Run subway trains on surface GO Transit rails — 45 per cent
8. Improve the accessibility of the TTC — 44 per cent
9. Renewal of urban apartment towers to make them more energy-efficient and to create mixed-use neighbourhoods — 44 per cent
10. Modernize the CNE grounds and open them year round — 43 per cent
11. Protect Toronto’s heritage buildings better — 43 per cent
12. Modernize and redesign intersections to improve pedestrian and bicycle traffic flow — 42 per cent
13. Adopt lapel cameras for Toronto police to ensure greater accountability — 41 per cent
14. Improve the quality and the management of Toronto’s public housing stock — 40 per cent
15. Eliminate or reform the Land Transfer Tax — 40 per cent
Geoff and George