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People Mean Business

Author: Bike East Bay

Date: July 25, 2015

People Mean Business

  • People who walk and bicycle to shop spend more money than people who drive. It sounds counter-intuitive we know, but study after study of similar retail corridors shows that after adding bike lanes and calming traffic, retail activity goes up. Studies conducted in New York, Toronto, San Francisco and Portland all verify the reality that pedestrians and bicyclists are your best customers!
  • The reason for this is that people stop to shop or grab a bite to eat more often when bicycling or walking down a street than they do driving down the same street. Many drivers are simply cutting thru the street. The drivers who do stop may spend more in one single trip by driving, but people bicycling and walking make more trips and spend more money overall.

Do you want more customers coming through your front door? Do you want a raise?

Here’s the data:

  1. Portland Study: survey of 89 businesses showed people walking & bicycling spend up to 50% more per month than drivers
  2. New York Study: after installing protected bikeways on 8th & 9th Avenues in Manhattan, retail activity increased 49% compared to 3% increase borough-wide over same period
  3. San Francisco Study Columbus Ave: survey of Valencia Street found that 65% of participating merchants believed protected bike lanes had a positive impact on business. Survey of 800 people visiting Columbus Ave showed that people walking and bicycling spent over 50% more overall than drivers
  4. San Francisco Study Polk St: people who walk to Polk spend more money overall than people who drive
  5. Toronto Study: survey of 61 merchants and 538 patrons found people arriving by foot and bicycle visit the most often and spend the most money per month. 2017 Followup study on Bloor street found same
  6. Vancouver Canada: Union Street protected bike lanes originally thought bad for business, but upon further review, business is up
  7. Safe Routes to Transit Study: the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s recent evaluation of Safe Routes to Transit projects in the Bay Area showed that people walking and bicycling to MacArthur BART spent more money than commuters who drove.
  8. Oakland Telegraph Study: survey of 231 shoppers in Temescal District in Fall 2014 found that people walking, bicycling and taking transit to the Temescal District spend more money per trips and come back more often.
  9. Fisherman’s Wharf Study: Two years after San Francisco gave Fisherman’s Wharf a people-friendly redesign on two blocks of Jefferson Street, business is booming, despite merchants’ fears that removing all car parking would hurt their sales, they now say it had the opposite effect.
  10. Downtown Berkeley Shopping Survey: Cal’s [IN]City Program surveyed 322 shoppers in Downtown Berkeley and found that people walking, bicycling and taking transit spend more money per month than people who drive downtown.
  11. Salt Lake City: study of 300 South Street (Broadway) show sales increased at local businesses with new protected bike lanes
  12. Telegraph Avenue in KONO District: 2016 retail sales data shows a 9% increase in sales after road diet with protected bike lanes. This 9% sales increase, year over year, was greater than other business districts in Oakland during same period.
  13. La Jolla Blvd, San Diego. 2018 report of 5-2 road diet project with traffic calming, placemaking and green street improvements sees sales up, collisions down.

Cities with Physically Active Residents More Productive, Healthier, a report soon to be released by Chad Spoon of UC San Diego

Good article from Momentum Magazine on how businesses are getting bikes


1CP 218 Fall 2014 UC Berkeley Transportation Studio Deakin & Broaddus Professors:

2Business Cycles Catering to the Bicycling Market, Kelly J. Clifton, Sara Morrissey, Chloe Ritter, TR NEWS 280 May-June 2012

3The Economic Benefits of Sustainable Streets, New York Department of Transportation, December 2013

4Bike Lanes, On-Street Parking and Business, A Study of Bloor Street in Toronto’s Annex Neighborhood, Clean Air Partnership, February 2009

5Columbus Avenue Neighborhood Transportation Study, SFMTA 2008

6Economic Benefits of Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Improvements, Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (SafeTREC), Rebecca Sanders 2014

7Lessons from the Green Lanes: Evaluating Protected Bike Lanes in the U.S., Portland State University, NITC-RR-583 June 2014

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