Supposed 'War on Cars' Goes Cold

A recent survey gives statistical heft to what many already believe - that despite the rhetorical exuberance of anti-bicycle and anti-transit types, the supposed "war on cars" is just a tired trope that is "wearing a bit thin."
January 24, 2013, 12pm PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Sarah Goodyear discusses the findings of a recent survey commissioned by the Seattle-based Cascade Bicycle Club that is the subject of an article, "Debunking the So-Called Bike Backlash," that recently appeared in the local alt-weekly The Stranger. The survey, whose findings indicate that 73 percent of Seattle voters support the idea of building protected bike lanes and 79 percent have favorable feelings about cyclists, should put to rest the idea that the city is "waging a war on cars."

"The 'war on cars' trope has long been a favored talking point for anti-bicycle and anti-transit types," notes Goodyear. "But this survey and others seem to indicate that it might, at last, be wearing a bit thin, no matter how much the auto warriors try to whip up their troops."

"Last year, a Quinnipiac poll of New York City residents showed that 59 percent support bike lanes, up from 54 only a few months earlier. Quinnipiac also found that 74 percent support the city’s sadly delayed bike-share plan. A New York City Department of Transportation poll about the Prospect Park Bike Lane – supposedly a bloody battleground of the war on cars that the New York Post insists the DOT is waging – found 70 percent of respondents liked the lane."

Perhaps it's time to call a truce in the bike vs. car debate, in the interest of building better cities.

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Published on Thursday, January 24, 2013 in The Atlantic Cities
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