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Yet more research shows benefits bike lanes bring local businesses with more footfall and higher spending

Study on economic impact of Toronto's Bloor Street Bikeways mirrors experience of cities elsewhere around the world...

Research into the economic impact of a protected bike lane in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, has reinforced the findings of similar studies elsewhere – cycling infrastructure benefits businesses located on such routes by encouraging people to visit more frequently, and to spend more once they are there.

Summarised on the city’s website, the research into the Bloor Street bikeway, which replaced car parking spaces and runs from Avenue Road to Shaw Street in the city’s Annex and Korea Town districts, also found that since it was put in place, customer spending grew more than in surrounding areas and in line with the average for Toronto as a whole.

In 2015, before the bikeway was installed, local businesses served an average of 73 customers per weekday. That had risen to 104 by 2017. Average spend per customer per month rose from $186 to $245.

People visiting on foot made 21 visits per month with 63 per cent spending $100 or more, while those arriving by bike made 58 per cent spending upwards of $100. For motorists the respective figures were 15 visits and 51 per cent, and for public transport users 12 visits and 32 per cent.

The city administration highlighted examples from other cities in North America – Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver – where businesses had seen turnover rise, among other benefits, after cycling infrastructure was installed.

The city is currently undertaking a consultation to extend the bikeway westwards through Bloor West Village from Shaw Street to Runnymede Road, and anticipate that it will boost growth of businesses along the route.

Research from 2010 found that just 21 per cent of visitors to Bloor West Village travel there by car, with 48 per cent arriving on foot, 24 per cent by public transport and 5 per cent by bicycle.

People on bike or foot or using public transport were likely to visit more frequently and spend more, averaging three visits a week, with 86 per cent spending at least $100 a month.

By contrast, people arriving by car visited an average of once a week, with 69 per cent spending $100 or more a month.

With 350,000 people living within a 10-minute bike ride of Bloor West Village, it is expected that the proposed extension to the bikeway would boost economic growth of local businesses there.

In November, the owner of a health food shop on the proposed route said in an article published by Now Toronto that she believed the bikeway would benefit her business.

Lisa Lukashevsky, writing in response to a study by the University of Toronto on the existing bikeway, wrote: “Based on this study – and my own observations as a merchant for 10 years – I'm really looking forward to the Bloor lane extension coming to my shop.

“This is a difficult time for small businesses like mine. We’re getting squeezed between the Big Box stores and the rise of internet shopping,

“However, small independents are important fixtures of Toronto’s neighbourhoods. We offer customers a sense of community. We offer them something that’s local and human-scale. Many Torontonians aren’t looking for huge parking lots nor even necessarily the lowest price. But they do want to feel that local merchants are their neighbours. 

“This is where bike lanes come in. They help make travel calmer and more sociable. They bring charm to a neighbourhood. And they make our roads feel less like highways and more like friendly main streets.”

She added: “Unlike motorists, who sometimes shoot past, cyclists move at a more relaxed pace, one that allows them to notice my business and then stop and visit. 

“I find bike-riding shoppers to be very loyal. Maybe it’s because they have a bit more time on their hands. They may purchase a little less, but they generally shop more frequently.”

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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12 comments

Avatar
Hirsute | 4 years ago
6 likes

//hips.hearstapps.com/hmg-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/images/marathonbar-1568216220.jpg?resize=768:*)

Avatar
CygnusX1 replied to Hirsute | 4 years ago
3 likes

So much better for you than Snickers

Avatar
eburtthebike replied to CygnusX1 | 4 years ago
0 likes

CygnusX1 wrote:

So much better for you than Snickers

But fewer knickers.

And hassle doesn't have a t.

Avatar
judda6610 replied to Hirsute | 1 year ago
1 like

I thought i was the only one irritated by the  pointless renaming of Marathon bars, which I carried every day when I walked The Pennine Way back in 1989. Also irritated by Cif, of course. I'll be with you in a cif?'

Avatar
Mungecrundle replied to judda6610 | 1 year ago
1 like

You are certainly not the only one. But following Brexit, I'm hopeful that we will be able to purchase "Marathon" bars by the troy ounce.

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to Mungecrundle | 1 year ago
1 like

I look forward to the extra weight (1 oz vs. 25 g).  Unfortunately this will likely be more than offset when there's a run on the shilling and my ha'pennies become worthless.

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Sriracha replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago
1 like
chrisonatrike wrote:

I look forward to the extra weight (1 oz vs. 25 g).  Unfortunately this will likely be more than offset when there's a run on the shilling and my ha'pennies become worthless.

I suppose there could be a run on the Marathons too...

Avatar
Hirsute replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago
2 likes

Thought if any of this nonsense comes in to being * then what is 500g will be 454g but the price will be the same.

* not that anyone will be pratting around with their scales or getting any one in to verify the accuracy of said scales.

I'm sure someone will sell nuts in lb - "a pound of nuts please and not too many coconuts."

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Jimwill replied to judda6610 | 1 year ago
0 likes

Opal fruits

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to Hirsute | 1 year ago
1 like

Now also proudly wrapped in British Imperial Chocolate again rather than the silly "chocolate-style covering" which the EU forced us to label.  Along with needless fussy safety warnings like "may contain spring-loaded razor blades".

Still - at least it's not a Hershey bar.

Avatar
ktache | 4 years ago
3 likes

eBurt I would love to post a picture of a marathon bar, but doing pictures seems too much of a hastle (for now)

Also, last week I noticed the governments road safety review was announced back in 2014, unfortunately the minister announcing it was failing Grayling, ah well...

Avatar
eburtthebike | 4 years ago
1 like

Yet another report proving the value of investment into cycling, and I'm sure the BBC and msm will be all over this 24/7 like last week's report about marathons improving your health.

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