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Many Portlanders say they like bikeways, but walking is top priority in new poll

Posted by on February 3rd, 2014 at 3:13 pm

Sidewalk to nowhere-2

NE Broadway and Vancouver Avenue in 2011.
(Photo by J.Maus/BikePortland)

A new survey helps explain why city leaders have been putting better sidewalks and crosswalks at the center of their push for new transportation funding: it’s the issue voters say would be most likely to win them over.

A whopping 86 percent of Portlanders polled last month said the presence of “sidewalks and safety features in places where children need them to get to school and seniors need them to get to transit” would make them more likely to support a new city transportation revenue package. The second most popular issue, with 84 percent support, was “more crosswalks and flashing light signals on streets with dangerous intersections and bus and transit stops.”

Protected bike lanes, by contrast, were less universally popular. 64 percent of Portlanders said they’d be more likely to support a package that “created bike routes that separated people riding bicycles from car and freight traffic.”

The issue on the list that Portlanders found least moving: paving the city’s unpaved and gravel streets. 60 percent of Portlanders say they’d be more likely to support a funding package that included gravel street paving, and 36 percent said they’d be less less likely.

Here’s the full list of issues the city presented, with green bars representing the most important to winning Portlanders’ support. Click to enlarge:

Public concern about pedestrian safety has grown “significantly” since a similar poll in 2007, pollster Adam Davis found. His “seven takeaways” from the survey are in this slideshow.

“In 2007, about two out of three people said more crosswalks on streets with bus and transit stops would increase their support for funding,” the city said in its Monday news release. “Now, more than eight in ten say the same thing. By contrast, feelings about the need for long delayed maintenance that will reduce the future costs of road and bridge repairs have remained steady at three-quarters support.”

Portlanders’ relative lack of enthusiasm for paving unpaved streets shouldn’t be confused with their support for maintenance of paved streets, especially major ones. When the poll gave Portlanders an open-ended question of what the city’s “biggest transportation-related needs” would be, here’s what they said (the circles are the pollster’s):

Finally, here’s a third chart, reflecting voters’ answers to a question that asked them to rate various priorites from 1 to 7:

The results were based on a survey of 800 Portlanders. The results are multi-faceted; expect more coverage over the coming weeks (and expect different news outlets to interpret the same survey in different ways).

We’ve focused here on the question of what issue is most likely to sway voters because that’s the most pressing issue at hand for the city. As we’ve been reporting, the city is gathering public opinion and insight in an effort to approve a new transportation funding source later this year, either by council or public vote.

Three town halls later this month will also give the public a chance to learn about the subject and weigh in:

Members of the public can also contact Mark Lear at (503) 823-7604 or mark.lear@portlandoregon.gov for more information.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Adron @ Transit SleuthBarbara StedmanwsbobOregon MamacitaAlan 1.0 Recent comment authors
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kittens
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kittens

Funny, I just read about the poll results in the O. Made no mention of this fact. Shocking!

Terry D
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Terry D

In our neighborhood visioning, pot holes and pavement was mentioned a few times.

Safe bike and pedestrian routes to schools parks and the MAX was mentioned repeatedly. So, this comes as no surprise to me.

Jim Labbe
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Jim Labbe

Let’s hope that Oregonian does not spin this into another round of cars vs. bikes. The idea that “repairing potholes and repaving” can’t benefit all road users including bicycles and pedestrians is nonsense for sure. But more people biking and walking is one of a number of strategies that can reduce the wear and tear on city streets and make our limited maintenance dollars go farther for everyone.

Blake
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Blake

Yeah, the Oregonian did not use the word bike or bicycle or make any reference to these funny two wheeled creatures that people seem to enjoy using. Usually news orgs are supposed to add information from press releases, not hide the ones that they find inconvenient.

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2014/02/transportation_poll_finds_the.html#incart_river_default

Alex Reed
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Alex Reed

Ummm am I the only one here noticing that separated bike infrastructure is 2nd to last on the list? Out of 10 options, Portland voters ranked it 9th. That’s a serious problem for separated bike infrastructure, which I strongly believe is the only way to get us past 10-15% mode share (not that we’re there now).

John Liu
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jyl

Good analysis.

The wording of choices affects the responses. Include words like “safety”, “children”, “dangerous”, “schools”. “seniors” and that choice will get more votes. So I’d put not a lot of weight on relatively small differences in votes, in other words try not to parse the exact rank order too finely.

That said, it makes sense to me that people place high priority on the ability to walk safely. Walking is a common denominator.

I’m pleased to see that “congestion” and “freeway/highway” and “traffic” ranked lower than bike lanes.

Bottom line – the responses generally make me happy and hopeful about the priorities of our city’s residents. As a cyclist I’d personally have expressed a slightly different rank order of choices. But not all that different. A livable city must be a walkable city. Walkable cities are often inherently bike-friendly. And more pedestrians are dying in Portland than cyclists.

Adam H.
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Adam H.

Why did the Oregonian claim “condition of roads” is the top priority? Either they, or Bike Portland are misinformed. http://ORne.ws/1bX5BKV

TOM
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TOM

>> “more crosswalks and flashing light signals on streets with dangerous intersections and bus and transit stops.”

yeah, that’s nice. I use the one at se 122 at the library often.

PROBLEM IS; it’s nearly as dangerous as before it went in. There is almost always some moron who goes sailing through completely ignoring the 3 other lanes that are stopped. and with the other lanes stopped , they mask the view of the offender.

There are NO teeth in the crosswalk laws. If they put in cameras , a la the red light cameras in the Mall 205 area, things could settle to be much safer.

Their solution ? when you hit the light request button, a recorded voice notifies you … “Be careful, vehicles may not stop”

No Sh1t , Sherlock.

TOM
Guest
TOM

I was locking up at the library and a PPD officer was parked at the front door…when he became free, I went over and asked him about this …he said “all lanes MUST stop once someone has entered the crosswalk”

When the runner is in lane 4, but lane 3 has blocked my/his vision, bad things will occur.

Barbara Stedman
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Barbara Stedman

Sidewalks would ultimately also be good for bicyclists. First of all it will get more people out of their cars and onto the street as pedestrians and maybe later bicyclists. It will be good for families with small children or other beginning bicyclists who feel safer biking on the sidewalk. It will calm the streets. It will makes schools safer when more kids can walk to school instead of being driven. I’m sure that PBOT will add striped bikelanes when they add in sidewalks. So I’m glad that voters prioritize aftive transportation over car improvements.

Paul Cone
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Paul Cone

I’m wondering who are these 5% who are much less likely to support safety improvements for children and seniors. Are they evil, or just confused?

Alan 1.0
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Alan 1.0

davemess
The link was broken, do you have a title for the article

Try this.

Concluding paragraph:

“The fatal misconception behind brainstorming is that there is a particular script we should all follow in group interactions. The lesson of Building 20 is that when the composition of the group is right—enough people with different perspectives running into one another in unpredictable ways—the group dynamic will take care of itself. All these errant discussions add up. In fact, they may even be the most essential part of the creative process. Although such conversations will occasionally be unpleasant—not everyone is always in the mood for small talk or criticism—that doesn’t mean that they can be avoided. The most creative spaces are those which hurl us together. It is the human friction that makes the sparks.”

Adron @ Transit Sleuth
Guest

Just sayin…

We discuss the pedantic aspects of the laws here but the general public (probably at least 80-90% of them) don’t know how to operate their automobile legally. Another percentage of the same size also probably has a set number of laws that they see as “fungible” and until their is a significant effort to increase the baseline skillset and knowledge of drivers this is the reality we have to deal with, which is, drivers don’t know the vast majority of the specifics around road operation. Our expectation is that design is our only real option to remedy a huge majority of problems with drivers misbehaving and endangering the lives of other people.

Writing laws at this point is pretty vain, redesigning things to force drives to pay attention helps dramatically more.

…again, just sayin.