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Poll Position: Majority of Torontonians Would Prefer LRT in Scarborough

And it's not just downtowners: over half of Scarborough voters would rather see an LRT than a subway, too.

Photo by Loozrboy from the Torontoist Flickr Pool

Photo by Loozrboy from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

Following are descriptions of two options for providing improved public transit service to Scarborough:
  • A subway extension from Kennedy Station with three stops, with a total cost of $3.5 billion, requiring a $1 billion property tax increase, to be completed by 2025.
  • A Light Rail Transit (LRT) line from Kennedy Station to replace the Scarborough Rapid Transit line, with seven stops, with a total cost of $1.7 billion paid by the Ontario government, requiring no property tax increase, to be completed by 2020.

Which of these two options do you support to provide improved public transit service to Scarborough?

Of all respondents, 18% expressed no preference. Among those who did express a preference…

LRT: 61%

Subway: 39%

Poll taken: January 31-February 1
Sample size: 523
Margin of Error: Not provided
Methodology: online panel
Conducted by: Leger

NOTES: A new poll suggests that not all Torontonians are clamouring for subways, subways, subways. In fact, Leger’s survey reveals that 61 per cent of Torontonians would rather see the City commit to a seven-stop LRT in Scarborough than to a three-stop subway extension. While strong support for the LRT option was signalled by respondents from the former City of Toronto (75 per cent), York (68 per cent), and East York (67 per cent), the majority of those surveyed in Scarborough are also in favour of the LRT: 56% of residents there back that option. Those most in favour of the subway expansion are, in fact, residents of North York, where half of those polled think that’s the way to go.

Leger notes that these results reflect a change in voters’ views since January 2011, when another of its surveys indicated that 52 per cent of Torontonians would rather see the City construct subways than LRT. That survey, though, did not focus specifically on transit options in Scarborough or refer to the tax increase the Scarborough subway option would require.

That tax increase is on its way: on January 30, city council voted to increase property tax revenue by 2.71 per cent, including 0.5 per cent for the Scarborough subway. Three separate votes were held about whether the contentious Scarborough transit debate should be reopened during the council meeting: all were defeated 23-22.


  • OgtheDim


    They mentionned the tax increase amount?!?!

    How UNFAIR!!!!!

  • Dogma

    As it turns out a lot of people in Toronto can count and the subway plan just doesn’t add up to a smart investment.

  • walrusaurus

    Hold on – “Three separate votes were held about whether the contentious Scarborough transit debate should be reopened during the council meeting” – that’s not true.

    There were three *motions* that were going to be voted on… until speaker Frances Nunziata wrongly ruled them all out of order, preventing any votes from taking place.

    The City Clerk had clearly indicated the motions were *not* out of order.

    • Lloyd_Davis

      Frances Nunziata couldn’t run a bath, let alone a council meeting.

      • TorontoistEditors

        Mind leaving a quick comment explaining?

        • Lloyd_Davis

          All one need do is watch the proceedings at City Council. The difference between her management of the meeting and that of deputy speaker John Parker is night and day.

          • HotDang

            I’d love it if they updated council to have a non-partisan speaker enforcing the rules. Half the time it’s a farce how she runs things.

          • OpportKnocks

            But she is very loyal to “the family”, and the Fords value loyalty.

          • Punned_It

            They certainly don’t value competence.

          • Angie Mac

            I partially agree with you. She does, from time to time, make some really inane calls when she’s performing as Speaker. At the same time, with that bunch, being Speaker is no easy matter. I did think she was pretty funny when she got Ford to accidentally apologize for threatening Minnan Wong.

        • dsmithhfx

          She’s an idiot, ’nuff said.

    • OgtheDim

      IIRC, it was 3 motions to overturn the ruling of the chair.

      All of which indicates to me that this IS coming backup in 2015, whether Glen De Be and Chuckles Del Grande like it or not.

      • walrusaurus

        Ah – ok, perhaps I misinterpreted the phrasing in the post.

        But yes – this ain’t the last we’ve debated Scarb subway vs LRT. Will almost certainly get blown open again post-election.

        • bobloblawbloblawblah

          Even during the election. Socknaki’s position alone guarantees that. I don’t see how Chow or Tory can get elected without a strong position on this issue. Transit will quite likely be the number one issue come election time.

          • OpportKnocks

            … and the Island airport expansion.

          • Paul Kishimoto

            Say “transportation,” which covers those plus…
            —”The War On The Car!!!!!!!”
            —Bike infrastructure (lack thereof)
            —Pedestrian safety
            —The future (if any) of the Gardiner

      • bobloblawbloblawblah

        I’d be very surprised if it didn’t come back after the 2014 election. Bickering over the Scarborough Subway seems to have become a Toronto past time. Next to bickering over the Fords.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    Sanity returns after a prolonged exile…

  • Doug Earl

    Now conduct a poll with a clear question about actual voter intentions regarding Rob Ford and you’ll see people are smarter than you think on that one, too.

  • OpportKnocks

    Those 23-22 votes mean that this issue is far from dead.

  • dsmithhfx

    Got a glossy-card-stock flyer from Brad Duguid last night touting “A SUBWAY FOR SCARBOROUGH“.

    • Lloyd_Davis

      An MPP pandering? Say it ain’t so! “Remember, Kathleen Wynne and the Liberal team are the ones bringing this to you, the good people [dare I say 'folks'?] of Scarborough Centre, after we invested a lot of time, cash and political capital in the light-rail rapid transit line that was part of our Move Ontario 2020 plan.”

  • OgtheDim

    Ur using the same stats approach that indicates the Sheppard subway should be full to the rim and people clamoring for 6 car trains.

    Not everybody who takes transit from Markham into Scarborough wants to go downtown.

    • nevilleross

      Also, the LRT will keep people from having to take the subway to go anyplace else in Toronto that isn’t downtown, lessening the pressure on the YUS line and any possible future pressures on the BDL, as well as eliminating the need for the stupid elongated buses and buses of any kind.

  • Harry Weiss

    Cancellation costs are:

    $85 Million paid to Metrolinx to compensate them for all the work they did designing and starting to build the LRT (includes buying land for the vehicle servicing buildings)

    $70 Million to Bombardier to cancel the contract, they had already started work on the order for LRT vehicles for the Scarborough LRT

    There may well be more coming. The Scarborough LRT was beginning construction, and lots of money had been spent on it.

    • Punned_It

      And that doesn’t count the 100 million it cost to put everything on hold a couple of years ago. Nor does it count the $400 million we had to beg other levels of government for. Numbers look like the gas plant…

    • Steve Fleck

      But I thought Rob Ford was all about, “respect for the taxpayers”, and watching expenses and making sure that we save every nickle and dime that we can? :)

      • vampchick21

        No, don’t you see? We save money by getting rid of the guy watering plants at City Hall and kicking out the TPL security guards. That there is yer gravy!

        • Steve Fleck

          Makes sense – save a few nickles and dimes while squandering $millions! :)

      • Harry Weiss

        Rob Ford’s professional life and personal life have a lot in common.

        Lots of failure and mess, covered tightly by lies.

        • Steve Fleck

          I’ve come to the conclusion that Rob Ford, is Rob Ford. He’s a thoroughly known quantity now. I think Rob Ford says, more and tells us more, when you look at the people who still vote for and support him. How they can put so much aside, and still vote for him is astonishing to me?

  • Punned_It

    Hope all those folks in Scarborough enjoyed riding the bus. They’ll be doing that for 10 years while they wait for the subway…

  • Steve Fleck

    One wonders where, Rob Ford got it in his head that, “Folks. The people of Scarborough want subways”. Metrolinx spent 5 years researching all this, with expert opinions from urban planners, engineers, accountants and others – you now people that are professionals and do this sort of thing for a living. Where did Rob Ford get his information from? I bet he talked to two disgruntled bus riders at Midland and Lawrence outside a Tim Hortons, and that’s all it took for, “Subways, subways, subways”.

  • Punned_It

    The snow this week was a good reminder of how long it will take before the subway is up and running – 10 years is the best guess. When the RT gives up, and it’s overdue for that, they will all be riding the bus. After the subway they will also be riding the bus to the 3 stops.

  • Punned_It

    We just have to look at Mel’s vanity subway for an example.

  • DavidPylyp

    The LRT with a stop at the university campus makes sense