Bronxites clamor for affordable housing, safer transit commutes in NYC’s largest public issues survey

New York City 5th Ave Subway Train Station MTA Transit
Photo courtesy Getty Images

In hopes of transforming the concerns of New Yorkers across the city into potential policy efforts, NYC Speaks unveiled the largest public issues-oriented survey in NYC history Monday.

In a survey transcending 62,000 responses, 6,464 respondents from the Bronx reported that in order for the borough to be “safe,” the city needs to build more affordable housing to reduce homelessness and increase the presence of social workers in crisis response calls.

The 27-question survey that touched on various citywide topics, including public safety, housing, transit, mental health, broadband, workforce policy, child care and climate change.

Housing was the top priority issue in creating safe neighborhoods for respondents across all social and racial lines, with the exception of AAPI-only respondents ranking “more police presence” first and housing second. More than 2,400 Bronxites surveyed feel that housing — both in affordability and access — would make a safer borough, as well as a way to reduce homelessness; where the need for transitional living facilities has stockpiled in various Bronx community districts.

Additionally, more than 1,000 Bronx respondents believe the city should centralize housing data and resources onto a city app.

Transit safety is also a concern for most New Yorkers, with many clamoring for safer commutes as riding the train has become increasingly unsafe amid this year’s spike in transit crime.

Adults in the outer boroughs are most interested in seeing affordable recreation centers while youth across the city most want to see affordable, high-speed internet access regarding neighborhood public infrastructure investment.

The results of the survey, along with further community feedback will be used to outline a tangible course of government action for the Adams administration this June.

“Too often, New Yorkers are asked what they believe about policy and then left to wonder what will happen with their input,” said José Serrano-McClain, co-executive director of NYC Speaks. “We are proud not only to have heard from 62,000 New Yorkers on the NYC Speaks survey, but to bring that data back to communities across the five boroughs. We are excited to see how both quantitative and qualitative data can shape the future of public policy and investment in New York City for years to come.”

Of those surveyed, 33% of respondents were white, 29% were Hispanic, 14% were Asian and 7% were Black. Additionally, every age group above 18 and every income bracket responded to the survey.

“After extensive community outreach across the five boroughs, we surpassed our goal of 50,000 responses to conduct the largest public policy survey in New York City history. In addition, we are proud to announce that 18,400 youth between the ages of 14 and 17 responded to this survey,” said Dr. Shango Blake, co-executive director of NYC Speaks. “We’re proud to release this data today but this is just the first step in the process. We look forward to launching the Community Conversations to engage the community on our findings and build a stronger, more thriving city.”

The survey was open for four weeks from the weekend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day through Feb. 11 and developed in partnership with 80-plus Civic Policy Council members, with agency outreach spearheaded by Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright’s administration.

Reach Robbie Sequeira at or (718) 260-4599. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes.