Nancy Smith Lea (TCAT) – Bloor pilot study and what we learned
Myth: Removing on-street parking to make space for protected bike lanes leads to fewer customers and less local spending.
Reality: Merchants consistently overestimate the number of patrons who drive, and the negative impacts of adding bike lanes on parking. Nancy shared that the Bloor pilot actually lead to net gains in parking spaces, dispelling the argument that customers who do need to drive can no longer shop on Bloor. It’s important to note that the business owners present raised valid concerns about loading. We recognize that convenient loading zones are a key consideration in designing protected bike lanes on main streets with a diversity of businesses.
Why it matters: Building bike lanes on main streets will always involves rejigging the streetscape and moving on-street parking to Green P lots or side streets. The business case is already built: TCAT has done three comprehensive studies diving into the economic benefits of bike lanes on local economies. We need to communicate their findings in digestible stats and stories that will speak to business owners’ concerns.
Fun fact: TCAT’s 2017 study evaluating before-and-after conditions on Bloor in the Annex and Koreatown revealed that 90% of customers arrived by foot, bicycle or transit.
Read full article: Westward Ho! What’s next for Bloor