Majority of motorists favor street safety improvements: Poll

Photo by Mark Hallum

A new poll from Transportation Alternatives shows that the majority of New Yorkers — including motorists — are in favor of improvements to streets space including protected bike lanes, bus lanes and wider sidewalks.

Even in exchange for fewer parking spots, the poll claims, with 61 percent of respondents being motorists themselves.

The organization commissioned Siena College Research Institute to complete the poll of 805 registered voters in New York City from November to December 2020.

“While the majority of our city’s streets are devoted to moving and parking vehicles, the majority of New Yorkers want streets that prioritize people,” said Danny Harris, Transportation Alternatives executive director. “City streets must become fairer, healthier, safer, and put people first as we recover from the pandemic. With this latest polling, it’s clear that candidates running with bold plans to reimagine New York City’s streetscape will have public opinion on their side.” 

The poll showed that the majority of voters in all five boroughs, 68 percent, supported new protected bike lanes in their community and 56 percent were willing to sacrifice parking space for bus lanes, according to Transportation Alternatives.

Up to 64 percent of respondents said outdoor dining was a valuable use of curbside while 56 percent said the same for bike share stations in their neighborhood. Transportation Alternatives also said that 63 percent of those polled were in favor of Open Streets with 76 percent of these respondents being under the age of 35.

“Safer and more inclusive streets aren’t just good policy, they’re good politics. Candidates who want to come out on top in this year’s elections would be wise to join the growing majority of New York City voters who embrace a vision of a city that isn’t dominated by cars and traffic,” said Eric McClure, executive director of StreetsPAC. 

Households that own a car held a supermajority in the poll of about 84 percent and nearly each category was a majority of either having a household income below $50,000 and under 35, according to Transportation Alternatives.

“We must continue working towards a more sustainable, pedestrians and cyclist-friendly City,” said Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, chairman of the Transportation Committee. “The data is clear, the majority of New Yorkers support adding additional bike and bus lanes as well as green spaces to our City’s streets even if that means less parking for vehicles.”

The poll results have a margin of error of about +/- 3.9 percentage points and was conducted using a stratified dual-frame probability sample of landline and cell phone numbers which was ultimately weighted to reflect known population patterns. The data was also adjusted by age, race, ethnicity, gender, party affiliation and borough to ensure it represented a wide range of New Yorkers, according to Transportation Alternatives.

This story first appeared on amNewYork.

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