New study of Toronto bike lanes shows they are good for business and safety - Treehugger

Business went up and crashes went down; it seems like a win all round.

Most cities don’t have discussions about bike lanes; they have culture wars. Rachel Quednau writes in Strong Towns about a bike lane battle in Philadelphia:

Like the name-calling between liberals and conservatives that is so common in our country right now, the “bikes vs. cars” conversation accomplishes nothing. If we reframe it, instead, as a conversation about choice and economic prosperity, we stand to gain so much more—bike riders and car drivers alike.

That’s why a report released today in Toronto is so interesting. There has been a bike lane “pilot project” on a major east-west artery, Bloor Street, about which the Mayor said last year:

I’m going to be certainly wanting to see that it’s measured rigorously. If the measurements show overall, taken overall as a whole, this was bad for neighbourhoods, bad for business . . . then I will be advocating it be taken out.

The report recommends that the bike lanes be retained. They found that the street was safer and more comfortable for everyone, drivers, pedestrians and cyclists alike:

While currently less than one year of road safety data is available "after" the installation of the bike lanes, preliminary indications show that collision and conflict ("near-miss" collisions) rates have reduced. Based on public opinion surveys, the introduction of bike lanes have significantly increased levels of comfort and safety for both motorists and cyclists. In addition, a strong majority of pedestrians feel their experience walking on Bloor Street with bike lanes installed is about the same or better than it was previously.

But most importantly, the effects on businesses appear to be positive.

Through a door-to-door merchant survey and a pedestrian intercept survey, this study found that most merchants reported an increase in the number of customers, most visitors reported spending more and visiting more frequently, and that vacancy rates are stable.

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