Statement of Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives:
At a Republican forum in Manhattan this week, would-be mayoral candidate Bo Dietl said he's learning how to drive a bulldozer so he can tear out the bike lanes and the Times Square Pedestrian Plazas if elected.
But if the former homicide detective thinks running roughshod over bike lanes is an easy path to populist stardom, he should think again. In reality, our election year poll conducted by Penn Schoen Berland shows that New Yorkers strongly back protected bike lanes and other street safety improvements, even if those redesigns leave less space for driving and parking.
The survey found that the level of support for bike lanes has risen drastically since we last polled likely voters in 2013. Back then, 24 percent strongly supported protected bike lanes, a number that rose to 40 percent in 2016. Total support (combining those who strongly support bike lanes with those who support them somewhat) came in at 68 percent, compared to 56 percent in 2013. In addition, nearly seven in ten New Yorkers (69 percent) say expansion of Citi Bike should include new protected bike lanes.
Between 63 and 81 percent of respondents told us they back measures to slow down traffic and protect people biking and walking, even if that means less space for vehicles. Those results are especially impressive considering that 68 percent of the people in this survey are car owners, in a city where only 46 percent own a car.
When it comes to overall support for Vision Zero, 82 percent of respondents across the city said in our poll that they support Mayor de Blasio’s policy initiative to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries. Protected bike lanes are a crucial part of Vision Zero street design because they have proven to save lives and prevent injuries. If Dietl wants to keep using bike lanes for applause lines, he might want to take note of the fact that New Yorkers’ views have changed, and rethink his attacks on something that has proven effective and popular.