A new poll released by America Bikes yesterday is a telling indicator that Americans are already thinking in terms of Complete Streets.
Eighty-three percent of those polled would like to see federal funding for bicycling and walking maintained or increased — and this high percentage is consistent across demographics and political affiliation. (Check out the infographic below!)
These findings are consistent with many previous polls, both state and local, that have found that people want a more balanced transportation investment system at all levels. A poll administered late last year in Dallas found that 85 percent of respondents were willing to give up at least a small portion of street space now devoted to cars to make room for other travel options.
When given a dollar to divide according to the portion that should go to different modes, Americans responding to surveys consistently give more than just a cent or two to non-motorized options — which is the current allocation of federal funds.
Such a poll in Minnesota found that the state’s residents would, on average, allocate 20 percent for bicycling and walking, 25 percent to public transportation, and 55 percent to roadspace for cars. That 2008 poll helped drive the state to adopt its Complete Streets policy, which is now being implemented across the state — and the Minnesota Department of Transportation is discovering that improving the streets for all users is a win-win. According to Scott Bradley of Mn/DOT, “Implementation of Complete Streets goals can actually keep costs at acceptable levels and save money, while adding more public benefits and return on investment.”
Ordinary Americans understand that streets need to work for everyone using them, and that means making appropriate investments. With luck, more states will listen to their citizens, as Minnesota did, and understand the benefits of creating streets for everyone.