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Development & Transportation

A New Poll Suggests Most Pittsburgh Voters Actually Don’t Hate Bike Lanes

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Sarah Kovash
/
90.5 WESA
This is the future many Pittsburghers want, according to a poll put out by advocacy group Bike Pittsburgh

City of Pittsburgh voters are eager to see safer streets, and support increased investment in transportation as well as bike and pedestrian infrastructure, according to a new poll.

The research was commissioned by national advocacy group People For Bikes on behalf of local nonprofit Bike Pittsburgh, which is working with Pittsburgh’s bikeshare group, Healthy Ride, to raise awareness of the city’s bike master plan.

Scott Bricker leads Bike Pittsburgh, and he said after two decades advocating for cyclists and pedestrians, it was a relief to see the data.

“There’s this myth, right, that bike infrastructure is controversial at best and unpopular at worst,” he said. “This actually shows that … the people who live and vote in the City of Pittsburgh, this type of improvement, this is hugely popular.”

The firm Lake Research Partners randomly selected and interviewed 600 likely voters in early March. Three-quarters of respondents agreed that better transportation options and additional bike and pedestrian infrastructure would make Pittsburgh a desirable place in which to live and work.

Bike Pittsburgh itself supports these investments, of course. But Bricker said the poll didn’t cherrypick responses. Safety concerns may help explain the results: Two-thirds of respondents said they knew someone who had been injured in a crash, and a quarter had been injured themselves.

And that’s whether people are driving, walking, or biking, said Kimberly Lucas, the assistant director of the city’s Department of Mobility and Transportation.

“It’s more important than ever to support traffic calming measures, so everyone can get around Pittsburgh safer and easier,” she said.

Respondents also said creating alternatives to driving were important economically, in order to get people to work on time.

The poll also found that the pandemic reinforced the importance of having safe spaces to walk and bike. Many people agreed that more street space should be given over to bus-only lanes or separate bike lanes, as well as space for outdoor dining and shopping.