Denverites support a tax to improve bike network, study shows

by | Mar 13, 2017 | Blog, Denver Activities

Would you pay a tax in order to improve Denver’s biking network? If you said yes, you agree with the majority of participants in a recent poll.

The OnSight Public Affairs poll was conducted with the help of Keating Research. Of the 621 “likely 2017 voters” queried, 66% said they would support a 4-cent sales tax per $100 spent to complete the city’s bike network in five years. When asked if they would still support the idea, should it mean fewer car lanes and parking spaces, 62% of those who were initially favorable remained so.

As Denver grows, many advocate better biking lanes to reduce traffic, our carbon footprint and pollution. The poll was undertaken to see if Denverites would be willing to put their money where their mouths are.

“[W]e just wanted to know if people’s values and perspectives would stay consistent when we actually ask them to spend money and to increase the sales tax in order to do so,” OnSight co-founder Ben Davis told Streetsblog.

The bike network is part of a plan by Denver Moves, which calls for a fully connected network of bike lanes in the city, according to Streetsblog. The network would be designed to help bikers feel more safe (only 14% of poll participants said they currently feel “very safe” while biking).

Those polled seemed to indicate such a network would make a big difference in their likelihood of biking around the city routinely. Of those asked if they would bike instead of drive if they had access to a protected bike lane “between your home and your workplace, or school, or favorite restaurant,” 60% said yes. Among respondents age 18-34, an even larger number—85%—said yes.

Davis announced the results of the poll at a recent Bicycle Colorado’s Moving People Forward conference. While the poll was favorable to biking causes, David noted that any action based on it would be down the road.

“This is not something we’re actually pursuing today,” he told conference attendees, “so everyone please don’t pick the phone up to the mayor’s office quite yet.”

Perhaps they should bike to the mayor’s office instead?

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