Bikes: Good For Your Health, The Environment…and The Economy? – 511 Contra Costa

Bikes: Good For Your Health, The Environment…and The Economy?

Cycling scene on York Blvd
Good for business? A former parking space for a single car now easily accommodates 10 times as many bicycles.
Photo credit: Walk Eagle Rock
Here at 511 Contra Costa we tag posts that directly or indirectly feature the benefits of bicycling with our “bike benefits” tag. Of the many benefits we’ve covered, one is increasingly being spotlighted by city officials and advocates alike– the economic benefits of bicycling and bicycle infrastructure. It is perhaps little surprise that the League of American Bicyclists put together a graphic outlining the studies conducted across the nation that have demonstrated bicycling  provides economic benefits.
LAB Map
From coast to coast, bikes mean business! Image via: Co.Exist
Among the studies highlighted in the graphic is one from the Bay Area in San Francisco, which showed 66% of merchants along Valencia Street reporting improved business following the implementation of bike lanes on the street. Intuitively, this finding makes a lot of sense because bike lanes typically lead to an increase in the number of people cycling on the street, and over 300 parked bicycles can fit  in the same amount of space it takes to accommodate 30 parked cars. With space for automobile parking being a concern among retailers, it seems  more efficient and economically sound to have as many customers arrive by bicycle rather than car as possible (And not to mention that by bicycling people save money on gas and parking and therefore have more money to spend at local businesses).
Since the League of American Bicyclists put together this graphic, and the accompanying report on the economic benefits of bicycle infrastructure, additional studies continue to echo these findings. In New York, a study conducted by the Department of Transportation found businesses on 9th Avenue in Manhattan reporting almost a 50% increase in sales after a protected bike lane was installed on the street. Even in Los Angeles, one case-study found that the re-configuring of one commercial street to include bike lanes did not hurt businesses despite fear among merchants that it would.
As more studies emerge be sure to keep an eye on our “bike buck$” tag for more posts on the economic benefits of bicycling.

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