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Cyclists using the Bloor Street bike lane in Toronto's Annex neighbourhood on August 11, 2016.

Christopher Katsarov for The Globe and Mail/Globe and Mail Update

About a year after passing a Vision Zero road-safety plan, and with contentious pilot projects in place on Bloor Street and proposed for King Street, Toronto is grappling with how to divvy up road space.

It's a difficult debate and one that is playing out in a city where residents of different areas have very different methods of getting around. The car is used much less in the old city of Toronto than in the rest of the municipality, and even less downtown. But in spite of these differences, new research suggests that opinions might not diverge as much as thought.

The David Suzuki Foundation commissioned interviews with more than 800 Toronto residents by Maru/Matchbox, via the Angus Reid Forum, and found broad support – in all parts of the city and across all demographic groups – for both bicycle lanes and lower speed limits, when the latter is framed as a safety tool.

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"Even when asked specifically, and told that this may increase travel time, Torontonians are still choosing safety," said Jared Kolb, executive director of Cycle Toronto.

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