Promoting bicycling and walking means more business for local shops and restaurants, no matter which coast you happen to be doing the biking and/or walking on.
This is not simply feel-good stuff or anecdotal, it turns out.
In New York, an East Village Shoppers Survey, produced by Transportation Alternatives, concludes that residents and visitors in Manhattan’s East Village “rely heavily on walking, bicycling and public transit to get to and around the neighborhood.”
The study goes on to say that people using these modes of transportation “spend the vast majority of retail dollars, and are increasing in number thanks to the implementation of protected bike lanes and pedestrian safety improvements along First and Second avenues.” These amenities are popular with residents and visitors, it adds, “and encourage more women to ride bikes, or feel inclined to do so.”
TransAlt recommended that local business owners and the New York City Department of Transportation continue to support the expansion of New York City’s bike network, including “a more robust network of protected bike lanes and bike parking."
The study is a snapshot of the travel and spending patterns of residents and visitors in the East Village. The findings included these points:
Portland, OR is a completely different city and biking situation from the densely populated Manhattan, where most people have to be cyclists, pedestrians and public transport users rather than car drivers just to get around.
Portland is not nearly as crowded; yet bicycling is a major way of life in this most bicycle-friendly of cities. It has a major impact on the city’s economy and infrastructure, according to Portland State University researchers, including Kelly J. Clifton, Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
A recent TR News article by Clifton and her team, “Business Cycles, Catering to the Bicycling Market,” found that while car drivers spend more at supermarkets and restaurants than the other transport modes, walkers, bikers, and public transport users visit the locations more frequently, and thus, over the space of a month, spend more.
"Cyclists are greater spenders on average,” Clifton writes. “Patrons who arrive by automobile do not necessarily convey greater monetary benefits to businesses than bicyclists, transit users, or pedestrians. This finding is contrary to what business owners often believe.”
These transcontinental reports go a long way toward dispelling the notion that car-based business is somehow better or more preferable economically. Besides that, if you are walking or biking you are not spending a significant portion of your disposable income on gas, and you are benefiting your health and the environment.
[Image: Bicycle rack Portland by garda via Flickr]