The Complete Business Case for Converting Street Parking into Bike Lanes

The article by Bloomberg presents an annotated, chart-filled guide to every major study conducted about the business impact of converting on-street parking into bike lanes. Collating the studies was aimed at settling business owners’ fears that such conversion will lead to financial losses.

Date added 28 August 2020
Last updated 30 August 2020

The article by Bloomberg presents an annotated, chart-filled guide to every major study conducted about the business impact of converting on-street parking into bike lanes. Collating the studies was aimed at settling business owners’ fears that such conversion will lead to financial losses. 12 case studies were included in the consortium:

  • Portland, Oregon:

Study found that non-drivers, including cyclists, spend similar amounts or more, on average, than those who drive. Cyclists tended to spend less on groceries, but more at restaurants, bars, and convenience stores. Cyclist tended to spend less per trip, however, they made more trips.

  • East Village, New York City:

Study found that non-drivers accounted for a staggering 95% of retail spend in the area.

  • Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington, New Zealand:

Study found that drivers did spend more money per trip than non-drivers, however in the city centres, the only spending difference between the two groups was $4 per trip. The study also found that non-drivers spent more time in the shopping areas.

  • Dublin, Ireland:

Study found that retailers overestimated how many of their customers arrived by car and that on streets with better bike infrastructure, cyclist spending was nearly even with driver spending per month: 228 to 237 euros per month.

  • Los Angeles, California:

Study found that replacing car lanes with bike lanes had little impact on the economies of local businesses, property values, and customer shopping patterns.

  • Vancouver, Canada:

Business surveys were conducted and found a decline in sales after the implementation of a separated bike lane. However, as this study was based on surveys rather than actual sales data, it is estimated that loss in sales was not as high as reported in the surveys.

  • Toronto, Canada:

Survey conducted with merchants and patrons found that only 10% of patrons drove to the shopping area. It also revealed that those who did not drive had the highest monthly spend. Thus, the study concluded that converting street parking into bike lanes was unlikely to negatively affect businesses financially.

  • San Francisco, California:

A congestion pricing scheme was suggested in the city, however, business owners argued this could lead to reduced driving which in turn would harm their sales. However, a survey found that 60% of consumers arrived to the shopping area by transit, walking or cycling and the study also discovered that as non-drivers visited the area more often, they also tended to spend more than drivers per month.

  • Seattle, Washington:

Study found that after a bike lane absorbed 12 street-parking spaces, it increased the sales index in one area, whilst another remained the same. Thus, the study concluded that conversion of parking spaces into bike lanes had no negative impact on businesses.

  • Davis, California:

Study found that cyclists not only took more trips than drivers did but spent more per trip which lead to a monthly total spending of roughly $250 for cyclists and $180 for drivers.

  • Bristol, England & Graz, Austria:

Study found that retailers believed customers travelled from farther away than they actually did, with only 22% of customers driving to the shops whilst 10% cycled. This demonstrated the misconceptions of merchants.

  • Melbourne, Australia:

Study found that, in fact, drivers did spend more per hour than cyclists. However, six bikes can fit into a single automobile parking space - for a total hourly spending of $97.20. Therefore, the study argued it would be financially beneficial using that space for bikes instead.