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White Paper: Bike Lanes, On-Street Parking and Business, a Case Study in Toronto

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This study was produced by the Clean Air Partnership in Toronto, Canada with the intention of examining the possible impact of installing bike lanes along a main thoroughfare in the city. Their findings indicated that local businesses appeared to benefit more from local traffic arriving by foot or on bike than motorized conveyance. They argue that converting on-street parking into bike lanes would not only provide environmental benefits but enhance the area economy. This White Paper is *FREE* for all registered H2 “amigos”.

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Description

Proposals to install bike lanes on major streets are often met with opposition from merchants who fear that the reallocation of road space from on‐street parking to on‐street bike lanes would hurt business. The purpose of this study is to understand and estimate the importance of onstreet parking to business on Bloor Street in the Annex neighbourhood of Toronto. To encourage more Canadians to use bicycles for utilitarian trips more often, it is essential that the implementation of bike lanes on major streets be accelerated, the study’s proponents argue. The Bloor‐Danforth corridor is a particularly attractive option for a city‐wide east‐west bike lane in Toronto because it is one of the only long, straight, relatively flat routes that connects the city from end to end; there are no streetcar tracks; and it has one of the highest incidences of bicycle collisions in the city. This report is about the development and testing of new analytic tools to determine the public acceptability and economic impact of reallocating road space. The general finding from this study is that pedestrians, cyclists and transit users account for the bulk of retail spending on Bloor Street West in the Annex neighbourhood. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that efforts to attract more pedestrians and cyclists will have a more positive economic impact on businesses than maintaining the existing parking on the street. On this section of Bloor Street, the existing parking demand can be accommodated by a reduced number of on‐street parking spaces combined with the existing off‐street parking spaces. The study argues that it is clear that many merchants in the study area do not view on‐street parking as key to their business.