Weprin Survey Finds 61 Percent Like Bike Lanes, Even in Eastern Queens

In City Council Member Mark Weprin's district, 61 percent of those surveyed said they like the city's bike lane program. Image: City Council

Several surveys this year by top polling organizations have found citywide support for bike lanes. And in Park Slope and the Upper West Side, questionnaires put out by local elected officials have shown consistent neighborhood-level approval for new bike infrastructure. Now, another member of the City Council has found widespread enthusiasm for the city’s bike lane program among his constituents — and he doesn’t represent the heart of the NYC bike belt.

In fact, the district in question upends the assumption, held by certain members of the tabloid media, that “ordinary New Yorkers” aren’t interested in safer streets for cycling. It’s the turf of Council Member Mark Weprin, whose Queens district hugs the Nassau County line. A recent survey found that 61 percent of Weprin’s constituents support the city’s installation of bike lanes.

“I was somewhat surprised at the results,” said Weprin (not to be confused with his brother, Assembly Member David Weprin, who recently lost the race for Anthony Weiner’s seat in Congress and fought hard against congestion pricing when he sat in the City Council). “You tend to hear from the naysayers. When you go out to civic meetings, a lot of people complain about bike lanes, but obviously that’s not the majority.”

The survey went out by e-mail to a list of thousands of Weprin’s constituents, asking: “Do you support the network of bicycle lanes that the New York City Department of Transportation has installed on city streets?” About 400 people responded. While the methodology wasn’t scientific, Weprin guessed that if anything, it probably oversampled the high-intensity opinions of the bike lane opponents. “People seem to like them,” said Weprin, “including myself.” In the latest Q-poll, which uses random sampling and other scientific statistical techniques, 53 percent of Queens residents said they supported the expansion of the bike lane network.

Weprin's pro-bike lane district sits at the easternmost edge of Queens. Image: ##http://gis.nyc.gov/doitt/nycitymap/?searchType=FeatureSearch&featureTypeName=CITY_COUNCIL_DISTRICT&featureName=23##NYCityMap.##

“It always helps to know that your constituents are behind you when you support an issue,” Weprin said when asked how the survey would affect his actions moving forward. While he cautioned that there might be problems with the location of any given bike lane, Weprin said it’s important “to realize that we have too many cars in this city and it would be more environmental and healthier to have more people ride bikes.”

He also praised the city’s upcoming bike-share program, again reserving the right to critique the particulars of its implementation, should issues arise. “In theory, it’s a great idea to have bike-sharing and have people have an alternative to taking taxi cabs and even subways and buses, because those too are overcrowded on occasion,” said Weprin.

  • Eric McClure

    Bikes for the win.

  • Easter Queens wishes we had more bike lanes – or even connecting bike lanes… baby steps though!

  • Hooray!

    Well it is awfully nice and fresh to hear Weprin not taking his dad’s typical tactic on livable streets improvements.  Cheers to Mark Weprin!

  • Driver

    I think Eastern Queens thinks of  bike lanes as the door zone bike lanes that we have around here.  Propose to remove a traffic lane from Northern Blvd for a protected bike lane and see if people in Eastern Queens still like the ideas of bike lanes . 
    That said, Eastern Queens is pretty bikeable without any bike lanes, as there are many fairly quiet side streets that can get you where you want to go, and are pleasant to ride,even if you are not going anywhere in particular. 

  • Anonymous

    Weprin has good historical reason to believe that bike lane opponents were over-represented in that new (um, un-linked?) survey: evidently, the infamous blown call of the 1936 presidential election by Literary Digest magazine wasn’t caused by subscription bias but resulted from the greater tendency of FDR-haters to mail in the magazine’s poll ballots. Wikipedia has a good account.

  • Outer Boro Biker

    It’s really nice to finally hear an outer outer borough City Council member speaking calmly, rationally and supportively about NYC biking and bike infrastructure. Making NYC more bike-friendly is something that every Democrat should be supporting. I’m glad to see Mark Weprin is on board. He deserves some praise and gratitude for speaking up like this, I think. He is really standing out from his colleagues on this one and I think that’s great.

  • Charlie, your link directs to a dead spam site. Try again?

  • Anonymous

    Alon: Sorry, here’s link: http://bit.ly/oivRXe. (At least I hope so … weird stuff happening in my Disqus comment facility.)

  • Queensian

    I hope Eric “Get a Life” Ultich is paying attention. There’s no political future in bike lane hysteria.

  • Anonymous

    @SB_Driver:disqus I imagine that Eastern Queens would be a fantastic area for bike share by taking people from the #7 and E,F for the “last mile.”  Big bike share users would be students going to Queens College and St. John’s.  Hopefully, these schools would develop an “associate” membership with Alta Bike Share so the students would not have to use credit cards.  
    And all those students could be a great cadre of election supporters for Weprin.

  • 11101

    Mark Weprin is open minded, and has the capacity to learn and grow. The livable streets movement should be helping him create a strong platform on pedestrian safety, safe routes to schools and seniors, Bus Rapid Transit etc. He has a decent shot at being the next City Council speaker as does Streetsblog’s favorite bike basher, Jimmy Vaca.


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