Thanks to generous support from Voices for Healthy Kids, we conducted Georgia’s first ever multi-city public opinion poll on people’s attitudes toward Complete Streets policies and creating safer streets and neighborhoods for walking and biking.
The polling focused on likely voters in five Georgia cities: Athens, Augusta, Columbus, Macon, and Savannah. Telephone interviews and data analysis were managed by Public Opinion Strategies, one of the nation’s leading public opinion research firms specializing in political, public affairs, public policy, and corporate positioning research.
So, what did we find out?
- Voters in these five Georgia cities overwhelmingly support (84%+) Complete Streets policies that encourage cities to create safe crosswalks, sidewalks, and protected bike lanes. The support crosses partisan and racial lines and is very strong among both men and women.
- There is also strong support (86%) for investing transportation dollars in street safety improvements like sidewalks and protected bike lanes.
- Message-wise, voters support Complete Streets policies primarily to foster safer routes for children to walk or bike to school, but other compelling messages include the need for low-income residents to have safe transportation options and the need for attractive streets and neighborhoods that allow people to walk or bike to community destinations like downtown business districts, shopping centers and parks.
- Notably, anti-Complete Streets messages, such as “Investing in bike lanes and sidewalks takes away from more important issues like law enforcement,” do not resonate with voters, regardless of their background.
- Georgians support slower motor vehicle speeds in cities to foster safer streets for people who walk and ride bicycles.
Why is this information valuable?
If you are a local elected official, advocate, or supporter of Complete Streets, this new polling data indicates, quite clearly, that Georgians are in favor of more sidewalks, crosswalks and protected bike lanes…and they are willing to dedicate public funds for them.
Complete Streets policies can guide cities – and counties – to accommodate the safety and access of all road users in every phase of transportation project planning. An integrated, Complete Streets approach to transportation will lead incrementally, and affordably, to the kinds of streets and neighborhoods that Georgians want. Many Georgia cities already recognize this and recently have approved policies. The policies adopted by Gainesville and Savannah are among sixty-three such policies adopted nationwide in 2015.
If you are interested in reviewing the polling data in depth, please see the resources below: