Bike lanes bring business…

It seems that often, when a city decides to add bike lanes to urban-corridor streets, people complain that the loss of onstreet parking will have a detrimental effect to businesses in the area.

Recently, though, New York City released a report that showed some areas with a whopping 49% INCREASE in retail sales adjoining the bike lane. From the America Bikes blog:

A new study from the New York Department of Transportation shows that streets that safely accommodate bicycle and pedestrian travel are especially good at boosting small businesses, even in a recession.

NYC DOT found that protected bikeways had a significant positive impact on local business strength. After the construction of a protected bicycle lane on 9th Avenue, local businesses saw a 49% increase in retail sales. In comparison, local businesses throughout Manhattan only saw a 3% increase in retail sales.

Read the rest of the article and analysis by visiting America Bikes. If you would like to read the report (in PDF format) directly, please click here.

We’ve talked about bike/ped infrastructure and its ability to rejuvenate businesses before (particularly in our Long Beach coverage) — I’d like to see more studies like this to see if it is a regional trend or a phenomenon that occurs nationwide. Anyone seen a national-level study of this nature? If so, let us know in the comments below.


3 Comments

  1. Mike Myers May 14, 2013 4:16 am 

    I live not far from the Withlacoochee Trail, the longest paved trail in Florida. It goes through Citrus, Hernando, and Pasco counties, and travels through a bunch of small towns.

    The largest city it intersects is Inverness, which was a town with very little tourism. The city renovated its downtown, and made sure to make the town bike-friendly. Bike racks are everywhere. If you visit there any day, you’ll find cyclists sitting outside at the local restaurants, bikes safely locked nearby. It’s been an absolute blessing for the city.

    I’ve stopped at business along the trail I never would have visited otherwise. You provide access to the MUT and secure bike parking, and I’m likely to visit. Well, except for the bar on the trail with all the Harleys and ratty trucks parked outside. Not a lycra-friendly environment.

  2. Ghost Rider May 14, 2013 4:39 am 

    Look at the Pinellas Trail, too — designed so that it runs right through the downtown areas of a number of towns along the way (Dunedin is my favorite). Easy to grab lunch or do a little shopping, all by bike.

    My experiences in high school were similar — the D.C. Metro area’s “Washington and Old Dominion Trail” — where there were a number of places to get something to eat or rest and walk around along the trail.

    Bike trails are not really the scope of this study, however. This focuses on urban-corridor development of bike routes and onstreet bike lanes/sharrows/bike boulevards. Naysayers claim it will damage businesses, but the opposite appears to be true!

  3. Mike Myers May 14, 2013 4:04 pm 

    Tying trails into bike lanes encourages trail users to explore cities. Except on the Suncoast Trail. I’ve ridden it from the northern terminus to Pasco county, and I’ll be damned if I’m getting onto a 4 lane highway in order to get a snack.

    I can’t imagine on-street bike lanes being anything but beneficial. More access is always good. I particularly like the idea of the “bike box”. I live in fear of being right hooked if I’m in the bike lane at a light or stop sign. The bike box fixes that–and even just putting the cyclists’ stop line 10 feet ahead of the cars’ helps.

    If I could live in a town with bike infrastructure, I’d only use my car for trips over 20 miles.

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