Bi­cy­cle-friendly changes are good busi­ness

Central and North Burnett Times - - ROAD -

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.

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