State Assemblymember Jim Brennan announced results of a poll he commissioned on the Prospect Park West bike lane and other traffic changes. The poll, conducted on March 27th and 28th, 2011, found that, generally speaking, voters in the surveyed area have a more positive than negative reaction to the new bike lane, although there are some specific demographic groups that are more opposed than supportive of the change.
Assemblymember Brennan hired the Boston-based national polling firm Kiley & Company to conduct the poll of residents in zip code 11215 and the northern half of zip code 11218, including Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, and Kensington. The firm compiled responses from a random sample of 500 residents from among 25,000 telephone numbers, including both landlines (83%) and cell phones (17%). There was widespread awareness of the changes among respondents (93%). The poll had a margin of error of +/- 4.5%. Subgroups have higher margins of error.
Key findings reported by Kiley & Company are as follows:
- 44% favor keeping the new bike lane in place, 28% favor removing it, and 25% favored altering it to respond to pedestrian and driver concerns.
- 48% said it was a change for the better, and 32% said it was a changes for the worse. 20% had no opinion. 37% felt strongly it was a change for the better, and 26% felt strongly it was a change for the worse.
- Results break clearly along demographic lines: Younger residents under 50 definitely support the bike lane (59%), while residents over 50 tend to oppose it (44%) rather than support it (36%). Younger residents favor keeping the bike lane as is (57%), while older residents are in favor of changing it (25%) or getting rid of it (39%) instead of keeping it (30%).
- About three quarters of the respondents come from zip code 11215, and one quarter come from 11218. Of residents in 11218, 38% have a negative opinion of the bike lane, while 34% feel it is a change for the better. 52% of the residents in 11215 feel the bike lane is a change for the better, while 30% feel it is a change for the worse.
- There are distinct differences of opinion among drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians: People who bike regularly, comprising nearly a third of respondents, support keeping the bike lane as is (62%), as compared with non-bicyclists (32%) and non-bike-owning drivers (27%).
- On the issue of traffic impact, 50% of residents feel that the creation of the bike lane has reduced speeding on Prospect Park West, but a plurality of residents (44%) feel that traffic flow is worse, and more than half (54%) of those who have actually driven on Prospect Park West since the change think traffic flow is worse.
- Regarding the impact of the bike lane on pedestrian safety, 33% of all respondents feel less safe crossing Prospect Park West, while 22% feel more safe. Residents living near the park report feeling less safe (40%) versus more safe (25%), and residents over 50 report feeling less safe (42%) rather than more safe (19%).
- Nearly two thirds of the survey respondents are constituents of Mr. Brennan who live in Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, and Kensington. Among that group, 39% are in favor of keeping the bike lane, 31% are in favor of removing it, and 26% are in favor of altering it. 45% of that group felt the change was for the better, 36% felt the change was for the worse, and 19% weren’t sure. 34% felt strongly the change was for the better, and 30% felt strongly the change was for the worse.
Brennan said, “I did the poll because I thought it would be helpful to get an accurate read on public opinion about the bike lane from a professional pollster using standard statistical sampling techniques. There are several interesting findings. 30% of residents ride bikes regularly, which is great. But 40% of residents near Prospect Park West, and 42% of older residents, feel less safe as pedestrians crossing or walking along Prospect Park West. This is why I am reluctant to endorse the bike lane as is, and would prefer that the City and the community continue to study the elimination of the two-way lane or the transfer of the bike lane to the righthand side of Prospect Park West with a buffer (an ordinary bike lane). That would enable the traffic calming measure (the reduction of three travel lanes to two) to continue, but lessen concerns about safety from the unusual bike lane with a parking lane separated from the curbside.”
Assemblymember Brennan is forwarding the survey results to local community boards 6, 7, 12, and 14; to local elected officials; to leaders of advocacy groups supporting and opposing the bike lane; and to DOT Commissioner Sadik-Khan and other city officials.
Complete survey results will be posted on Assemblymember Brennan’s website at http://www.assembly.state.ny.us/mem/James-F-Brennan as soon as practicable.