Over the past year, the Toronto Star and the Martin Prosperity Institute asked readers and residents of Toronto for big ideas and realistic solutions that they would like to see in Toronto. As a part of their Big Ideas series, a top ten list of ideas has been voted on by the public and results are available on thestar.com.
The Reckoner has surveyed about 300 students at Marc Garneau CI asking students “what do you most want to see in Toronto?” A list of 22 ideas was listed, and students chose the top ten that they supported. The above graph shows the distribution of the votes. Here are the top ten ideas supported by MGCI students:
1. TTC accessibility: Improve accessibility of the TTC to allow all individuals, regardless of individual mobility and cognitive characteristics, to use the TTC in all locations.
2. Downtown relief line: Better rapid transit will reduce traffic congestion and save time for downtown dwellers and commuters.
3. Create better intersections: Toronto should modernize infrastructure and policies at big intersections to create scramble crossings, improving pedestrian and cyclist safety, and bettering traffic flow.
4. Solar panels on civic buildings: Toronto should fit public buildings with solar panels to encourage greater use of renewable energy.
5. Complete streets and pedetrian-only streets: Toronto should embrace the concept of designing streets that are suitable for all ages, abilities, and modes of travel. Toronto should also follow lead of major European cities and pedestrianize sections of downtown streets to improve the public realm, increase economic activity, and attract tourists.
6. Creating more and separate bike lanes: Creating separate bike lanes on major streets to increase cyclist safety and encourage alternative modes of transportation.
Improve City communication: Toronto should update their website, online platforms improved to increase civic engagement, and ensure coordination between city departments.
Harness the skills of new and existing immigrants: Toronto should advocate for further integration of new immigrants through strategies such as recognizing foreign credentials and professional experience.
Expand recycling and compost programs: Toronto should increase the reach of recycling and compost programs to encompass private buildings. Toronto should be able to process a greater range of materials.
Adopt an innovative parks policy: Toronto should seek new ways of operating and financing existing parks as well as look at abandoned spaces as opportunities to create new parks.
Increase police accountability: Toronto police officers should be held more accountable for their actions with means such as wearing video cameras as part of their uniform.
Several students proposed new ideas, among which were ideas to have more green urban spaces, more renewable energy used, publicly accessible rooftop gardens, community growth projects, youth and homeless employment programs, and city run businesses. One person proposed the city change to a ranked ballot system for elections. One suggested the TTC charge by distance and use transport cards, one suggested extending the Sheppard line east. Another wanted more recognition of all minor communities, including the LGBTQ community. One wanted a more colourful city and more murals. And several students wanted a solution to overcrowded schools and communities.
Students also answered questions about their political preferences and awareness levels of political issues and events on a scale of 1 to 10. Results are below. The graphs do not take into account the students who did not answer these questions.