Articles For Everyone

Data on pedestrian, accessibility, and complete streets to come!

Bike Lanes

The following studies highlight how more people cycling is good for business.

  • They spend more in their neighbourhood than car drivers
  • They see more and are able to stop more readily than vehicles if they see something they’d like to check out, buy, or eat
  • They are more space efficient when it comes to parking
  • Less air and noise pollution
  • Cycling keeps more money in shoppers’ pockets and in the local economy
  • Twenty-three Commercial Drive businesses have signed on to support Streets For Everyone.

How to Measure the Economic Effect of Liveable Streets

Street Blog
Sales tax data of businesses in multiple NYC neighbourhoods shows that adding bike lanes tends to significantly increase sales, even when merchants believed it was having a negative effect on their businesses.

Economic Impact of Bike Lanes
A 2009 study of Bloor Street, a commercial street in Toronto, showed that people who walked or biked to the area spent more per month than those who drove.

In 2016, a bike lane was added to Bloor Street, a street quite similar in proximity to the downtown, in shopping atmosphere, and in its use as a thoroughfare as Commercial Drive. In just a few months cycling increased dramatically (75% to 300%) and now at rush hour there are nearly as many cyclists as car drivers. The Mayor of Toronto, John Tory, says that businesses are overall faring well.

Salt Lake City Street Removes Parking, Adds Bike Lanes, and Sales Go Up
Installed bike lanes on busy Salt Lake City street, removing a significant portion of the parking, and businesses saw improvements in sales

From five general travel lanes to three and much less auto parking on another part (a 30 percent cut total)

Along the bike lane, sales rose 8.8 percent, compared to 7 percent citywide

When San Francisco reduced car lanes and installed bike lanes and wider sidewalks in 1999 on Valencia Street, a commercial street not dissimilar from Commercial Drive, 65% of businesses said it had a positive impact on their business and 30% said it had no effect or they weren’t sure. Most merchants found it had no impact on parking, and some said (15%) that it improved parking availability.

Most merchants agreed that they would like to support more traffic calming measures on their street

The Globe and Mail – How Small Businesses Are Learning to Love Bike lanes
Businesses tend to worry about bike lanes before they are installed, and then embrace them once they are installed.

Businesses in Calgary are seeing the benefits of having bike lanes on their street. Over 70 have publicly expressed support.

Can Protected Bike Lanes Be Good for Business?

Space for Gosforth
Data from bike lane installations in multiple international cities.
Main findings
– In all cases, business improved as a result of the bike lane, or stayed the same.
– Cyclists tend to spend less per trip, but make more trips, and spend more overall

In Melbourne:

19 cents: retail revenue per hour per square foot of on-street auto parking.
69 cents: retail revenue per hour per square foot of bike parking

In Bern, Switzerland, a city of half the density of Vancouver and whose percentage of trips made by bike is smaller than in Grandview-Woodland, a survey of 1,200 consumers in Bern, Switzerland, found that businesses made more profit per square meter of bike parking ($9,900 per year) than car parking ($8,800).

Businesses Overestimate Car-Driving Customers
Many unfortunately underestimate the number of their customers who cycle, and underestimate the money that cyclists will spend. In fact, cyclists tend to be high spending customers.
A 2008 study of the Camberwell district of London overestimated car shoppers by more than 400 percent.

Bristol: a survey of 840 customers and 126 shopkeepers found that the retailers believed that only 12 percent of their customers lived within a half-mile when in fact 42 percent did; believed cars were the most frequent mode of arrival when in fact walking was; believed parking would elevate the shopping experience when in fact shoppers said less traffic and more area improvements would.

Driving Means Less Money for Local Business
When local residents spend money on gasoline because they feel that that is the safest way to get around, that money leaves the local economy. Each $1 annual increase in the cost of gasoline results in approximately $240 million leaving the local economy. Cyclists and pedestrians thus have more money in their pockets.

Tax savings: 1 mile of a protected bike lane is 100 times cheaper than 1 mile of roadway

Fewer Young People Driving
The percent of people 16-24 with a driver’s licence peaked in 1983 and is now at its lowest rate since 1963.

One company found that bike accessibility was a key recruiting asset.
When employees cycle, up to 32% fewer sick days and up to 52% increase in productivity, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.

BloombergThis Bike Lane Can Save Your Life
Bike lanes are a very cost effective way to improve the health outcomes for the population.

Review of 12 studies of bike lane installs in multiple cities over the world
In almost all cases, sales improved for local businesses, except in a couple of cases where there was a neutral effect on business.

Cyclists spent about $163 per week on average, compared to $143 among drivers.

University of Washington researcher Kyle Rowe collected retail sales data before and after a bike lane absorbed 12 street-parking spaces on 65th Street in Seattle. The sales index on 65th Street skyrocketed after the lane was put in place, especially compared with the index in the rest of the neighbourhood. Business didn’t spike around a new bike lane in the Greenwood district, but neither did it fall, leading Rowe to conclude that cycling infrastructure had no “negative impact.”

In New York City, travel speeds in the Central Business District remained steady after protected cycling lanes were created while retail sales increased and injuries dropped by 20% (bike, automobile, pedestrian). Cyclist injuries dropped despite a “dramatic” increase in cycling. Travel times on Columbus Avenue and 8th Avenue improved by up to 14%.­09­03­bicycle­path­data­analysis.pdf

Vancouver – ridership increases by average of 21% once bike lanes are installed.
More cyclists in the area are good for business as sales increase.

Cycling is the most rapidly growing form of transportation
From 2008 – 2011 cycling trips increased by 40% (with install of bike lanes supporting this)