Bicycle-friendly changes are good business
CYCLING tourism can bring in money from interstate and overseas, but even changes for local residents can have an economic impact.
Here are some examples:
★ In Valencia St, San Francisco, traffic lanes were slimmed to slow cars down and accommodate other road users. Nearly 40% of merchants reported increased sales. More than 60% reported an increase in the number of customers who ride bicycles.
★ New York implemented a raft of changes across the city including traffic calming, separated and protected bike lanes and dedicated bicycle signals.
These changes resulted in significant rises in retail sales, beating the Manhattan average for the same period and substantially outpacing performance on nearby unaltered streets.
The city’s Department of Transport later released a report presenting and explaining the robust methodology developed for evaluating the economic effects of these “Sustainable Streets” improvements. This report is available for use by other cities and public agencies.
★ In Bloor St, Toronto a study of merchants and patrons found only 10% of patrons drove to the area. A majority of merchants believed that a bike lane or widened footpath would increase business and that off-street parking lots would cover the reduction in on-street parking. These findings from Canada demonstrate that local business-owners don’t always oppose improvements in cycling infrastructure at the expense of cars.
★ There have been case studies in the City of Melbourne revealing the benefits of sacrificing infrastructure for cars to make way for bicycles.
A study of Lygon St, Carlton found that while the average cyclist’s retail spending is only $16.20 an hour compared to a car driver’s $27 an hour, six bicycles can park in the space required for one car. So one car space equates to $27 an hour retail spending, six bicycle spaces equate to $97.20 an hour.