Bike lanes are good for business

We already knew that bike lanes benefit businesses in New York, but now it appears the same thing may be happening in Seattle.

A bike lane in Seattle

A bike lane in Seattle

Kyle Rowe of the Seattle Transit Blog wrote earlier this month that after a bike lane opened in his city sales tax from the surrounding area jumped 400 percent. Rowe is careful not to conclude that the lane definitely caused the jump, but he does point out that the lane didn’t hurt business and may have helped.

Even though the business district at 65th & Latona experienced a 400% increase in sales index after the project was finished, we cannot assume that this economic success was solely because of bicyclists. One could argue that the economic success likely wasn’t the product of motorists since their access was theoretically reduced, but without mode-split data before and after the project no conclusions can be made to assume which mode was most responsible for the economic change.

I’ve seen businesses in Utah express occasionally skepticism and often express apathy toward bike infrastructure. However, more and more evidence suggests that these kinds of additions actually benefit stores. As a result, they should be an increasingly easy sell to the business community in Utah.

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