Voters’ Message to Next Mayor: “Bring bike lanes and pedestrian islands to my neighborhood”

Whether or Not They Own a Car, New Yorkers Want Safe Streets

September 30, 2013
Brian Zumhagen 646-873-6008

New York City voters overwhelmingly want the next mayor to make roads safer using proven measures like pedestrian islands and protected bike lanes, according to a new poll of residents who cast ballots in the September 10th primary election, and those who plan to vote in the November 5th general election. 67 percent of all voters surveyed, and 65 percent of voters who own cars, said they support "bringing protected bike lanes and pedestrian islands" to their neighborhoods, according to the poll of highly likely voters released today by research firm Penn Schoen Berland and Transportation Alternatives.

The survey found that one in three New York City voters has been seriously injured in a traffic crash or knows someone who has been seriously injured or killed in traffic. According to the City's health department, traffic is the number one cause of preventable death for New York City kids, and the number two cause for seniors.

"Traffic safety is personal for so many New Yorkers, and voters are telling the next mayor that he needs to take specific steps to save life and limb on our roads," says Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives.

"Strong majorities of voters in all boroughs support efforts that lead to safer streets and better traffic enforcement in New York City," said Adam Rosenblatt, Director at Penn Schoen Berland. "In particular, our poll shows strong voter support for protected bike lanes and pedestrian islands as well as the increased use of speeding enforcement cameras in school zones."

Virtually two-thirds of voters in every borough say they support bringing these designs to their neighborhoods. Support is highest among Bronx voters: 77 percent want safer road designs that include protected bike lanes and pedestrian islands. Major New York City roads with these improvements have seen nearly 50 percent fewer pedestrian, bicyclist, motorist and passenger injuries.

"People in the Bronx and across the boroughs want the improvements that residents of Manhattan and Brooklyn now enjoy," White says. "It's a matter of equity: everyone has a right to live on a safe street."

Voters also expressed overwhelming support for more speeding enforcement cameras around city schools. 86 percent of all voters surveyed, and 82 percent of car-owning voters, say they support "the city installing more speeding enforcement cameras in school zones." Speeding is the number one cause of fatal crashes in New York City, killing more people than distracted driving, texting and drunk driving combined.

Though 61% of the highly likely voters polled say their households have cars (vs. 46% of all city households), the poll found that New York City voters get around like everyone else, with 70% describing the subway, bus, bike, walking or taxi as their "primary way to get around the city." According to the most recent U.S. Census data (2005-2009), 71% of New Yorkers commute by subway, bus, bike, foot or taxi.

From September 11-18, 2013, Penn Schoen Berland conducted 875 telephone interviews with proven New York City voters. 74 percent of the New Yorkers surveyed voted in the city's September 10th primary election and 87 percent "definitely" plan to vote in the November 5th general election. The geographic distribution of interviews mirrors voter turnout from September 10th. 53 percent of people surveyed were fifty years old or older, and 91 percent have lived in New York City since before 2001. The margin of error for this study is +/- 3.31%.