The latest step in our campaign to get quality bike and pedestrian projects included in the (potential) upcoming transportation sales tax measure took the form of a survey, sent to our members, to gauge their support for different project types. The results are in! Some priorities were expected, some were a surprise. All will help guide our work as we collaborate with other organizations intent on carving out a place in the measure for their interests.
Didn’t fill out the survey? The first time we sent it out, we focused on current SVBC members who live in Santa Clara County. Now, we’d like to open it up to the general public. Click here to share your thoughts on Envision Silicon Valley! Read on to see what we learned from the member-focused poll:
San Jose represented
Of the 110 responses, 41 were from San Jose residents. At 37%, that rate exceeds the representation of San Joseans in our membership overall (25%). Respondents from Mountain View and Sunnyvale were tied for second place, at 12.7%, with a 10% response rate from Palo Alto after that.
Take our money, please!
We asked people, “In general, do you support the idea of a sales tax of up to 1/2 cent to fund transportation projects in Santa Clara County?” The response was an overwhelming “Yes,” at almost 78% (a transportation sales tax needs a two-thirds vote to pass).
Pick and choose
The bulk of the survey presented participants with 17 project types and 8 program types and asked them to choose those that fell to the top and bottom of their wish lists. Some members of our San Jose Local Team later told me that this was a difficult part of the survey for them, as they wanted to see EVERYTHING funded. Alas, this survey, like the sales tax itself, cannot grant every wish. We will ultimately need to settle on a reasonable proposal that appeals to a broad base of voters. With that in mind, here are the big winners and losers:
- Bridges and tunnels and crossings (oh my!): “Facilities that help pedestrians and bicyclists get across barriers, such as freeways, railroad tracks, and creeks” was a top-five vote for 93% of participants.
- A related project type, “Redesign of dangerous or intimidating freeway over- and undercrossings to serve bicyclists and pedestrians,” also got the thumbs-up from 93%.
- Almost 82% of participants want to see “Complete Streets prioritization whenever repaving or significant roadway work is done.”
- An even 80% voted to put “Implementation of Class IV bike routes” in their top five. These are better known as protected bike lanes or cycletracks.
- Rounding out the top-five picks, “More east-west bike routes” was chosen by 70.7% of participants.
Projects for another day
- “Public bike share expansion” clearly lost this game, with 93% of the survey takers placing it at the bottom of their priority list. Of course, the respondents were SVBC members, and we can assume they overwhelmingly own and use their own bikes.
- Perhaps not surprising, given the local nature of bicycling, “Geographic equity (proportional spending across all municipalities in the county)” ranked as the second least favorite, with 84.85% dubbing it a “least favorite” consideration.
- Where are we? We may never know, if the 77.8% percent of those who voted down “Wayfinding – signage and mapping resources that help bicyclists and pedestrians get around easily by showing bike and pedestrian routes, distances, and travel times throughout the county” get their way.
- Also not surprising from a group of bicyclists, “Filling in gaps in the sidewalk network” was downvoted by 76.3%.
- And, the least least-favorite option (drumroll…) is “Bike lanes along county expressways,” with a negative vote of 73.5%.
- Vision Zero – Countywide Vision Zero – an effort to coordinate policies across agencies and jurisdiction with the goal of reducing all roadway deaths and major injuries to zero – was the big winner on the programmatic side, garnering a top-three position by 93.6% of respondents.
- Do it for the kids: Countywide youth bike and/or pedestrian education was endorsed by almost 74%.
- And 70.7% liked the sound of “Dedicated funding for countywide encouragement programs, such as Bike and Walk to Work events, group walk and bike commutes, walking tours, or incentives for walking and biking.”
No, thank you
- Mirroring the unpopularity of expanding public bike share, “Subsidized Bike Share memberships – Provide access to short-term rental bikes to low income residents” ranked in 75% of participants’ bottom three.
- Surprisingly, a program we hear a lot of support for, “Countywide bicycle diversion program – Traffic school for bicyclists that results in a reduction of the cost associated with a traffic violation” was given the thumbs-down by 65.7%.
- “Mobile bike repair clinics to provide inexpensive or free bike repair” was also deprioritized, by 63.6% of respondents.
All in all, responses to the survey painted an interesting picture: Get me across a barrier, near my home. Make most streets comfortable to ride on and give me more facilities dedicated to bikes, especially if they help me travel east-west. Educating kids is important, but subsidizing services is not a priority, nor is setting up traffic school for bicyclists. Of course, this is a small sampling from a dedicated group of bike nuts.
Next step – get this survey out to more people. Please help us share this link with your friends, neighbors, and social networks. We’ll follow up with results of the public survey next month!