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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Can We Finally Declare Peace in the 'War on Cars'? [Atlantic Cities]


Can We Finally Declare Peace in the 'War on Cars'?Can you still have a war if nobody wants to fight?
Can you still have a war if nobody wants to fight?
A recent survey of attitudes toward bicycles in Seattle raises the question. As local alt-weeklyThe Stranger points out in a piece called "Debunking the So-Called Bike Backlash," residents in Seattle have been talking about a “war on cars” for years. And the front line in that alleged war has been the stripes of paint that mark off lanes for bicycles.
But according to a recent survey commissioned by the Seattle-based Cascade Bicycle Club, this war isn’t anywhere near as hot as the rhetoric would have you believe. Before we go any further, yes, this is an advocacy group-commissioned poll, but they hired reputable research firm FM3 to conduct a scientific poll, which has a margin of error of 4.9 percent. The poll was originally intended for internal use, but according to Craig Benjamin, Cascade's policy and government affairs manager, the results were so heartening that they decided to share them with the public.
Here are some of the poll’s findings:
  • 73 percent of the 400 Seattle voters surveyed supported the idea of building protected bike lanes.
  • 59 percent go further and support “replacing roads and some on-street parking to make protected bicycle lanes.”
  • 79 percent have favorable feelings about cyclists.
  • Only 31 percent agree with the idea that Seattle is “waging a war on cars.”

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