Bike lanes help local businesses, study says
Published: February 4, 2014 08:06AM
Updated: February 3, 2014 09:27PM
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Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune Bicyclist rides along Salt Lake City's separated bikeway along 300 East and 700 South. It's the first in the state. Mayor Ralph Becker, City Council representatives and Transportation Division officials will unveiled a pilot project providing a new and innovative type of separated bikeway where bicyclists ride next to the curb and are separated from moving traffic by parked cars in addition to the marked buffer. “This project represents the potential future of a family-friendly, separated bikeway network throughout downtown Salt Lake City,” said Mayor Becker. The three-block project is designed to provide a prototype for separated bikeways that could be constructed throughout downtown, making selected use of Salt Lake City’s unique wide streets to create a low-stress, family-friendly bikeway network.

In the course of reporting yesterday’s story on bike accidents I found a report with a surprising finding: dedicated bike lanes actually generate economic growth.

The report — produced for People For Bikes and the Alliance for Biking and Walking — found that protected bike lanes have an array of positive economic impacts on cities. They include:

• Fueling booming real estate markets

• Recruiting and retaining skilled workers

• Producing healthier and more productive workers

• Increasing retail revenue in growing urban markets

Among other things, the report notes “that wide streets with fast-moving car traffic tend to depress property values, while buildings on streets with new bicycle facilities and pedestrian improvements have appreciated.”

Moreover, case studies cited by the report show properties increasing in value as the get closer and closer to bicycle trails.

The impact on retail revenue is even more interesting. In San Francisco, for example, 66 percent of merchants saw increased sales when the city replaced car lanes with bike lanes. In Portland and several other cities, bicyclists spent less per visit at local business but more over the course of the month because they visited more times.

The entire study is fascinating and includes a number of specific case studies from around the U.S. and else where.

— Jim Dalrymple II

Twitter: @jimmycdii