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December 17, 2013
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Two studies look at the impact of bike lanes on nearby retail activity

Two new studies examine the impacts of recently installed bicycle lanes on retail business activity in surrounding areas.  The first, Bikenomics, was undertaken by Kyle Rowe as part of his studies at the University of Washington and collects data on taxable retail sales before and after bike lanes were installed along two corridors in the City of Seattle.  In addition, the author compares retail sales figures in the corridors with bike lanes to those generated by similar retail corridors without bike lanes, as well as to sales made by retailers over three years in the entire neighborhood.  He concludes that, in both case studies, the bicycle projects did not have a negative impact on the business districts since, in both cases, the business district at the project sites performed similarly or better than the control sites.

A second study, carried out for the New York City Department of Transportation report, Measuring the Street: New Metrics for 21st Century Streets, likewise concluded that recent New York City street improvements, including bicycle lanes and pedestrian plazas constructed to replace parking spaces and lanes of traffic, did not impede economic growth.  This study used business sales, rental prices of office spaces, and market value of commercial buildings in order to understand the effects of street improvements on economic activity at and near project sites.  A recording of a webinar on this study is available on New York's State Smart Transportation Initiative website.


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