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Bike Sharing

NYC Voters Pleased That Totalitarians Have Begrimed City With Bike-Share

After seeing Citi Bike in action for a few weeks, New York City voters support bike-share by a margin of 2.5 to 1, according to a new Quinnipiac poll -- the first public opinion survey about NYC bike-share since the system launched. The land line and cell phone survey of 1,238 city voters found that 50 percent approve of bike-share and 20 percent disapprove, while 27 percent "haven't heard enough" to form an opinion.

The ratio of support for bike-share holds more or less constant among different ethnic groups, though more black and Hispanic voters than white voters said they haven't heard enough about it to decide. Bike-share support outpaces opposition by at least two to one across every range of income, with approval higher among more affluent New Yorkers than among households earning less than $50,000. Approval also cuts across all age ranges, with voters older than 65 (36 percent support/24 percent opposition) being the only group with an approval margin under 2.5 to 1.

When bike-share was just a concept, it polled in the range of 3-to-1 or 4-to-1 support. After all the recent tabloid garbage about bike-share stations cluttering curb lanes and delaying emergency response, approval isn't quite as sky-high now. Since public opinion on transportation reforms tends to bottom out right at the moment of implementation, which was less than a month before the June 19-25 Q poll was conducted, these bike-share approval numbers may not have fully rebounded yet.

The survey also found roughly equal numbers of city voters want to expand or contract bike lanes citywide, but at the neighborhood scale, opinion shifts in favor of expanding bike lanes. There's actually a "yes in my backyard effect," with significantly more voters -- 35 percent -- wanting to expand bike lanes in their own neighborhoods than shrink them -- 19 percent. Meanwhile, 39 percent said the bike lanes in their neighborhood should be "kept about the same."

Interestingly, there's also a "YIMBY" effect when it comes to siting bike-share stations. The program is most popular in Manhattan (61 percent approve/19 percent disapprove), where most of the stations are. And pretty much across the board, more people approve of "rental bikes being parked" in their own neighborhood than the bike-share program as a whole. It seems reasonable to infer that Citi Bike approval will escalate if the program expands to cover more of the city.

In related news, Dorothy Rabinowitz insisted that she speaks for the majority of New Yorkers.

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