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Marist Poll: Two-Thirds of New Yorkers Support Bike Lanes

12:18 PM EDT on August 9, 2011

A new NY1/Marist poll adds to the public opinion research showing a substantial majority of New Yorkers favor bike lanes. The survey found that 66 percent of adult New Yorkers support bike lanes, a somewhat higher level of support than the 59 percent recorded in a recent Quinnipiac poll. So NYC bike lanes are not only more popular than God, they are almost as popular as Andrew Cuomo.

The Marist poll was a phone survey of 808 adult New Yorkers, while the Quinnipiac poll surveyed registered voters, who are more likely to own a car than the city's general population. Marist also phrased their top bike lane question differently than Quinnipiac, asking simply: "In general, do you support or oppose bike lanes in New York City?" The Q poll phrased the question with more of a lead-in: "As you may know, there has been an expansion of bicycle lanes in New York City. Which comes closer to your point of view: A) This is a good thing because it's greener and healthier for people to ride their bicycle, or B) This is a bad thing because it leaves less room for cars which increases traffic."

Some points of interest from the Marist poll:

    • More New Yorkers want to expand the bike network (27 percent) than shrink it (23 percent), while a plurality (44) said the number of bike lanes should stay the same.
    • Support for bike lanes stands at 70 percent among people earning less than $50,000 per year.
    • Among Latino New Yorkers, support for bike lanes is at 72 percent.
    • More New Yorkers think cabbies and drivers are disrespectful on the road than think cyclists are disrespectful (78 percent and 53 percent to 46 percent, respectively).
    • A whopping 44 percent said even pedestrians are disrespectful.
    • More men want to add bike lanes (35 percent) than women (21 percent).
    • In Manhattan, a plurality of people (40 percent) want to add more bike lanes.

The percentage of people who want more bike lanes is an interesting number. I wonder how steady it is over time. Would we have found that about a quarter of New Yorkers actively wanted to expand the bike network four years ago, before DOT expanded it with hundreds of miles of lanes in a few years? Maybe less than a quarter? The assumption in the question is that the city will reach a point where people say the number of bike lanes is "just right," but it could very well be that the growth of the bike network is increasing the appetite for more bike lanes.

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