When cities choose to sacrifice on-street car parking in retail districts to install bike lanes, a common counter-argument is that removal of such parking spaces will impact businesses in a negative way. This argument has been proven again and again to be false (one such study here).
But what about replacing parking areas in a RESIDENTIAL neighborhood? How does this impact the neighborhood and the people living there? One such fight is brewing in Alexandria, Virginia, where resident F.H. Buckley recently wrote an op-ed piece (WSJ subscription required) for the Wall Street Journal on how such a move was tantamount to “war”. Here is a thoughtful and thorough response to Buckley’s piece in the Washington Times.
How to counter that argument? It’s easy to point naysayers and skeptics toward studies showing how bike lanes don’t impact businesses (and, in fact, may IMPROVE business, as we’ve written about here). But in a residential neighborhood? That’s a good bit more difficult. People tend to be protective of where they live (sometimes irrationally; see the NIMBY phenomenon for examples).
So how do bike advocates counter this skepticism? Do bike lanes represent a “greater good” that trump personal parking concerns? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below.