The Trails Committee of the Palisades Citizens Association recently presented the results of their survey at a PCA meeting earlier this month. While most of the people at the meeting seemed to be either supportive or ambivalent about the trail, a small group of 8-9 participants were strongly opposed to the trail and questioned the validity and meaning of the results. One major concern of this group was that the survey results included the responses of DC residents who didn't live in the immediate area. [Respondents who lived outside of DC were eliminated because the land is DC-owned land]. As a result, the Trails Committee reworked the slides to include, in addition to the previous analysis, a presentation of the responses of those who lived only in Palisades and Foxhall Village.
While support does drop a few percentage points if only locals are considered, the same six points that were highlighted originally, still garner at least 60% support.
Similar shifts are true when looking at other results. For trail surface, a slight majority of locals support no change to the surface as opposed to a strong plurality when all residents are considered. For bridge construction, each bridge still has majority support.
Likewise, support for bicyclists on the trail went down and concern for trail issues went up, but only by a few percent.
There were other concerns with the survey that those opposed to a trail brought up. Some thought that the word "enhancement" was biased in favor of the trail. Others worried that the question asking if a respondent supported the statement "I prefer no enhancements" was confusing, since a positive response of support or strongly support was needed to show that one preferred no enhancements. The presenter pointed out that the meetings where the questions were defined were open to the public and that at least one person strongly opposed to changing the ROW was on the committee and signed off on the questions.