Salt Lake City Street’s Decision To Replace Parking With Bike Lanes Boosted Business

A popular street in Salt Lake City (300 South, also known as Broadway) somewhat recently decided to replace on-street parking with a protected bike lane, and to monitor the effect on the area afterwards. What effect does such a transition have on nearby business?

What the in-house study done on the matter found, was that local business sales rose 8.8% (as compared to a citywide average rise of 7% during the same period) and bike traffic rose by 30%. Nice. Did anything else happen? Yes….

salt lake city bike lane retail sales data business impact slc opinions of retailers slc

Without further to do, here’s more from People For Bikes:

It wasn’t just a matter of dollars. The city’s “business ombudsman” also did door-to-door surveys with managers of the street’s 90 retail, restaurant and service storefronts, asking what they thought of the changes and recording them “being conservative so as not to overstate support.”

90% of the businesses were reached. Here’s what they said: “Both customers and employees love the bike lanes,” Jeff Telicson, manager of the Copper Onion restaurant, told the city. “We need more bike parking!”

...But that’s probably not the main reason for the sales jump. Instead — as on New York City streets, which found extremely similar results in a similar 2013 study of sales tax data — Salt Lake City’s experience shows that bike lanes are typically best for business when they’re part of a general rethinking of the street to make it a more pleasant place to linger.

…That’s why even the owner of a plant store, John Mueller of Paradise Palm on Broadway, can see sales go up as a result of a project that makes biking easier. “The bike lanes and lower speed limits help to calm car traffic and increase pedestrian traffic — all positives for my business,” Mueller told the city. “Business is up 20% since last year.”

It should be noted here that the conversion of 6 blocks of diagonal street parking and parallel parking to a protected bike lane was accompanied by a “wide-ranging investment in the streetscape” — which included crosswalk improvements, street planters, colored pavement, and public art.

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