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MAS Survey: Bike/Ped Projects Popular; Many Neighborhoods Lag in Livability

Nearly all New Yorkers spend a lot of time walking, so pedestrian infrastructure is bound to be popular. Image: Municipal Arts Society.

The Municipal Art Society's second annual survey on livability, released today, provides still more opinion data showing that New Yorkers want to see more bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. They're more conflicted, however, when it comes to new, large-scale development.

The MAS poll, a survey of 1,000 residents performed by the Marist Institute, found that a preponderance of New Yorkers think that both bike lanes and pedestrianized streets make their neighborhoods better places to live. Bike lanes proved more popular, with 56 percent saying they improved livability and only 17 percent opposing them. Even the bold proposal of closing streets entirely to traffic had a citywide approval rating of 42 percent to 29 percent. Previous polls have shown similarly sizable levels of support for bike lanes.

MAS found more conflicted feelings toward new, dense development. While 62 percent of those surveyed believed that "large real estate development" is a good idea, an equal number said that development should "maintain the character of the neighborhood." Bronx residents were much more willing to embrace development while Staten Islanders and Manhattanites were the least.

As MAS found last year, New York City's staggering levels of inequality are reflected in New Yorkers' opinions towards their neighborhoods. "We continue to see some underlying discontent, especially among people living outside Manhattan and those with lower incomes,” said MAS president Vin Cipolla. “It’s clear that citywide organizations like MAS need to step up our individual and collective efforts and presence in neighborhoods and forge new partnerships with community-based organizations to address these issues.”

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