Washington Street, Hoboken’s main thoroughfare and business district, is about to undergo a complete overhaul. Everyone agrees that the pothole ridden street needs to be repaved. What’s more in dispute, however, is whether protected bike lanes should be added.
A meeting held last Friday saw Hoboken business owners speak out against the plan. Business owners felt that the removal of any parking (or the opportunity to double park) would harm their business.
We should care about what business owners think. They provide jobs to residents, taxes to the city and incomes to families that depend on it. It’s understandable that business owners think that adding bike lanes in exchange for some parking spaces could be harmful.
But the reality is that protected bike lanes are good for business. And numerous studies have shown this:
- A 2012 Portland study revealed that customers who bicycle spend more at the businesses they frequent than drivers.
- A University of Massachusetts study showed how bike lane projects generate 46% more jobs than car-only road projects.
- A 2012 study of shoppers in New York City’s East Village, found that, per capita per week, cyclists spent the most money at local businesses (Bicyclists: $168, Pedestrians: $158, Car drivers: $143, Public transit: $111).
- A redesign of NYC’s Union Square to include a protected bike lane resulted in 49% fewer commercial vacancies, compared to 5% more throughout Manhattan.
- A study of the value of properties within one block of the Indianapolis Bicycle Trail showed an increase of 148 percent after construction.
Lastly, bikes reduce the toll on a city’s infrastructure. In 2016, with Hoboken’s population standing around 55,000, we can’t depend on cars forever. We are likely to cross over the 100,000 population mark within the next 25 years. And at only a square mile, Hoboken is perfect for biking and walking. Plus, many studies show that increasing parking or street lanes doesn’t reduce congestion. It actually makes traffic worse.
We support protected bike lanes on Washington street (and elsewhere) because we are pro-business.
Let us know what you think in the comments below.