Economic Impact Study of Bike Lanes in Toronto’s Bloor Annex and Korea Town Neighbourhoods

Cover of Economic Impact Study report

 

On October 11, 2017, the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation (TCAT) released its Economic Impact Study of Bike Lanes in Toronto’s Bloor Annex and Korea Town Neighbourhoods, a new research report about the economic impacts of the Bloor Street pilot bike lane, as well as the effect on travel patterns and attitudes of visitors and merchants. Data was also collected on Danforth Avenue, a comparable shopping street with no bike lane, so that changes observed on Bloor could be put into context.

The research study was led by TCAT, in partnership with researchers from the University of Toronto. Funding was provided by the City of Toronto, the Metcalf Foundation, the Bloor Annex BIA, and the Korea Town BIA.

The research team worked together with the BIAs to develop an evidence-based methodology to assess economic impact, including the survey questions, and partnered with academic researchers from the University of Toronto on study design and to collect, analyze, and interpret the data.

Between 2015 and 2017, four different sources of data were used to estimate economic activities before and after the installation of the bike lane:

Overall, all four indicators point to increased economic activity on Bloor Street following the installation of the bike lane, despite the removal of approximately 160 on-street parking spots and one traffic lane. Most merchants reported a higher number of customers than before the bike lane’s installation, visitors gave higher estimates of spending and visit frequency, and vacancy rates were stable.

The study also examined the travel patterns of customers, both before and after the bike lane’s installation, and found that fewer than 10% drive. Walking remains the most popular travel choice (48%), but cycling almost tripled, growing from 7% to 20%. Over 90% of customers were thus unaffected by the reduced capacity for cars.

The daily commutes of merchants, however, were significantly more impacted. Nearly half (49%) of merchants drive to work, meaning they face traffic and parking difficulties that their customers avoid by walking, cycling and taking transit. There was no increase in the number of merchants cycling to work, which, at 6%, remained their least popular travel choice.

The City of Toronto used a comprehensive strategy with multiple partners to measure a host of potential impacts of the Bloor pilot bike lane, including traffic operations, travel time, parking utilization, mode share, attitudes, and economic activity. On October 18, 2017 the City of Toronto’s Public Works & Infrastructure Committee will review all of this evidence that has been collected, including TCAT’s economic impact study, and make a recommendation about whether or not to make the Bloor bike lane permanent.

This 2017 research report builds upon TCAT’s two previous research studies on Bloor Street:


KEY FINDINGS

Customer Counts

Customer Frequency and Vacancy Rates

Shifts in Travel Patterns and Parking

Perceptions of Safety and Feedback on Bike Lane


Download Economic Impact Study of Bike Lanes in Toronto’s Bloor Annex and Korea Town Neighbourhoods: