Street Parking & Traders
Proposals to install bike lanes on major streets are often met with opposition from merchants who fear that the reallocation of road space from on‐street parking to on‐street bike lanes would hurt business.
To encourage more Canadians to use bicycles for utilitarian trips more often, it is essential that the implementation of bike lanes on major streets be accelerated.
The Bloor‐Danforth corridor is a particularly attractive option for a citywide east‐west bike lane in Toronto because it is one of the only long, straight, relatively flat routes that connects the city from end to end; there are no streetcar tracks; and it has one of the highest incidences of bicycle collisions in the city.
This report is about the development and testing of new analytic tools to determine the public acceptability and economic impact of reallocating road space.
The study – conducted in July of 2008 – surveyed the opinions and preferences of 61 merchants and 538 patrons on Bloor Street and analysed parking usage data in the area.
Among the study’s findings:
• Only 10% of patrons drive to the Bloor Annex neighbourhood;
• Even during peak periods no more than about 80% of paid parking spaces are paid for;
• Patrons arriving by foot and bicycle visit the most often and spend the most money per month;
• There are more merchants who believe that a bike lane or widened sidewalk would increase business than merchants who think those changes would reduce business; • Patrons would prefer a bike lane to widened sidewalks at a ratio of almost four to one; and
• The reduction in on‐street parking supply from a bike lane or widened sidewalk could be accommodated in the area’s off‐street municipal parking lots.
The spending habits of cyclists and pedestrians, their relatively high travel mode share, and the minimal impact on parking all demonstrate that merchants in this area are unlikely to be negatively affected by reallocating on‐street parking space to a bike lane. On the contrary, this change will likely increase commercial activity.
It is recommended that this type of study be replicated on other commercial streets where there is concern about reducing parking to accommodate wider sidewalks or bicycle lanes.
Ref: Fred Sztabinski, Bike Lanes, On-Street Parking and Business, Feb 2009 Full report: www.cleanairpartnership.org/pdf/bike-lanes-parking.pdf