After new poll, war of words continues in bike lane battle

(WMC-TV) - A road war between Midtown bicyclists and Madison Avenue business owners took a new twist Monday, when the Madison Avenue Business Coalition released results of a bicycle lane phone poll.

"We didn't feel comfortable with what we were getting out of City Hall," the coalition's Mike Cooper said.

916 of 10,000 registered voters took the five-question poll. Question #3 could have the biggest impression on decision makers.

It asked: What do you think the mayor and city council should do on Madison Avenue?

-59.6% Voted to leave it.
-18.3% Change it to two lanes for cars, two lanes for bicycles and a left turning lane.
-18.3% Not sure.
-3.8% didn't answer.

"We're talking about with just two lanes of traffic?  You're talking about a mess," Cooper said.

Bicycle enthusiast Les Edwards said the phone poll dialed his number. He felt the language was inflammatory and misleading.

"I mean, the questions were very loaded," he said.

Edwards believes bicycle lanes will help business.

"I think the businesses are helped by having additional traffic come in," he said.

Another issue surfaced Monday: Business owners feel mischaracterized.

"Please quit saying we're opposed," said the owner of Murphy's Pub. "We're for a compromise."

He says a compromise means shared lanes: A portion of the right lane in each direction would have a bicycle sections painted a different color and share the road signs.

"For the safety of cyclists and for the convenience of motorists, I think having dedicated bike lanes rather than shared lanes is going to be better for everybody," Edwards said.

Click here to read the complete poll, and a summary of responses.

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