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.

  • Joe R.

    The headline of this article is priceless!

  • Anonymous

    Loving that last line as well!

  • Joe R.

    Aside from her bizarre views on bikes and bike share, Rabinowitz actually sounds reasonable in some of her views, such as moaning the loss of the can-do attitude, and also her disdain for the reflexive hatred of government which permeates politics nowadays. And her description of bike share stations is beyond hilarious:

    ““I realized it was like some science-fiction thing. The pods have landed, only they’ve landed with the racks, and they’re coming with allies called bicyclists. The activating force behind all of the fury was the racks, instruments of aesthetic torture.”

  • Daphna

    There is also this poll http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/politics/2013/06/8531346/poll-bike-share-program-leads-widespread-imbyism which shows bikeshare approval to have it in one’s own neighborhood is even higher than bikeshare approval in general. It also shows Manhattan residents approve bikeshare slightly more than the other 4 boros.

  • Alex Knight

    She’s clearly an intelligent woman. But her hyperbole and propensity for making bold but utterly baseless proclamations severely undermine her intelligence. That and her method of responding to reasonable criticism with insults and huffy brush-offs render her into a caricature of an affluent, elderly New Yorker with nothing better to do than complain rather than a respected, prize-winning writer. Her insistence that people don’t know the meaning of the word totalitarian was my favorite part as even the dictionary sides with the communists marching understanding of the word.

    But she at least seems to recognize that her assertion that she speaks for the majority on the issue of bikes was utter nonsense. Of course, rather than revise her statement, she merely insists that a year from now, bike share’s novelty will have worn off and people will be sick of it and come around to her side. Not a likely outcome based on the success of bike shares in other cities. But, Rabinowitz hardly seems concerned with her own credibility.

  • People in the Bronx want bike lanes just as much as in say Brooklyn… BUT there is much less opposition to them here than in Brooklyn.

    A lot of people I know resent the fact that Manhattan seems to get all of the new shiny toys. (Like bike lanes.) this could explain why the Bronx numbers were worse when asking about lanes for the whole city.

    Cool poll!

  • People in the Bronx want bike lanes just as much as in say Brooklyn… BUT there is much less opposition to them here than in Brooklyn.

    A lot of people I know resent the fact that Manhattan seems to get all of the new shiny toys. (Like bike lanes.) this could explain why the Bronx numbers were worse when asking about lanes for the whole city.

    Cool poll!

  • It’s also worth mentioning Queens has the same pattern.

    The people of staten Island, however seem to want to be left alone.

  • It’s also worth mentioning Queens has the same pattern.

    The people of staten Island, however seem to want to be left alone.

  • Bronxite

    The Bronx welcomes new traffic calming measures with open arms.

    I’m excited about the coming two way protected lane on Bruckner Blvd near the drawbridge but we still need a lot more up here. A LOT more.

  • carma

    for some reason i thought havent hrd enough was havent HAD enough. i surely havent had enough yet…

    more bikes please. more more more…

  • carma

    Yes. Very eager in queens. And I own 2 cars

  • Anonymous

    Ms. Rabinowitz is worried that Jon Stewart’s minions would interview her for two hours and then take clips out of context? Sure, they might do that normally, but I think she is a special case: she spouts enough funny nonsense that an unedited five-minute interview might be all they need. She should really consider a career in comedy.

    I love how she adopts the Humpty Dumpty theory of language.

    “When _I_ use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

  • Anonymous

    The YIMBY effect is understandable. People use bike lanes around where they live, but they rarely bike far. When they are in other neighborhoods, they generally travel there by car, in which case they don’t just not use the bike lanes but “suffer” from their presence as motorists.

    That’s like the people who demand speed bumps and reduction in speed limits or the street where they live because fast car traffic disturbs them as residents and pedestrians, but, as soon as they enter their car and leave their own street, swear at every speed bump they encounter and keep speeding. Some people need to learn a bit more empathy, if they are bothered by fast and frequent traffic where they live, why do they expect others to put up with it just to be more convenient to motorists? The best example is the suburban-dweller who lives in a cul-de-sac (made precisely to cut down on through traffic) who then whines when urban boroughs implement traffic-calming measures to reduce or slow down through traffic on residential streets.

  • Anonymous

    thanks for the great laugh, Ben – if Dorothy only knew that her rant would promote cycling rather than detract from it, maybe she would have chosen her words more wisely.

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