Happy Bike Month! Bike lanes increase local economic activity

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Path to prosperity. via Flickr user Kordite

Bike lanes are a contentious issue in New York politics, just like a lot of bike-related issues are. Part of it is that people fear change, part of it is that Mike Bloomberg tends to be an imperious dickhead about installing them. But looking beyond the arguments, what are bike lanes good for? A ton of increased economic activity where they’re installed, it turns out.

A new report from the Department of Transportation that studied some of their different traffic initiatives found that the protected bike lane on 9th Avenue in Manhattan increased retail sales at local business by 49%. And this wasn’t the kind of thing where it just happened to coincide with an increase in local retail sales. The rest of the borough saw a modest 3% increase.

Huh, it’s almost like opening up the street to more than cars and making them safer for people who can just hop off their transportation to check out a store they like could have positive economic effects. Eh, probably a fluke. Let’s still rip up the Prospect Park West bike lane.

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