San Francisco study finds merchants benefit from bike lanes, traffic calming

City engineers have been working closely with Hornby St. businesses during August to identify and mitigate any negative impacts of the proposed Hornby St. bike lanes. (I hope to take a long walk up and down the street myself this week to meet with as many businesses as possible to prepare for a report to council expected later this month.)

Meanwhile, from indefatigable cycling advocate Richard Campbell, this small study from San Francisco suggests that hope, not despair, is in order for those who do business on Hornby. Two-thirds of the merchants interviewed four years after bike lanes were installed report a favorable impact. (Arno Schortinghuis advises that the San Francisco project involved conversion of a traffic lane in each direction to a bike lane. So the street changed from two lanes in each direction with parking to one lane, a bike lane and parking on each side.)

The findings in brief:

Twenty-seven randomly selected merchants located in the Mission District of San Francisco were interviewed about what impacts the Valencia Street bicycle lanes have had on their businesses. Four after the bike lanes were built, the vast majority of the interviewees expressed support for the bike lanes.
Sixty-six percent of the merchants believed that the bike lanes have had a generally positive impact on their business, and the same percentage would support more traffic calming on Valencia Street. Thirty-seven percent of merchants reported that the bike lanes have increased their sales.
Surprising percentages of merchants reported that increased congestion (41%) and reduced auto speed (46%) were good conditions for business. On eleven of the nineteen variables, not one merchant reported that the bike lanes had made conditions “worse”, while only 6% of the overall responses were negative.