An excellent article from DCStreetsBlog highlights the positive economic impact cyclists provide to communities.
Long Beach is mentioned quite a bit in the post as having transformed 4 business districts into cycle friendly areas complete with merchant bike-share programs, discounts to customers arriving by bike, bike valets, and a sea change in business owner’s perceptions about cycling and profits.
The biggest obstacle to overcome was fear. Fear of change, fear of lost
profits, fear of the unknown…
Really though it’s a “no brainer”, to vanquish fear and get business owner’s buy-in all you have to do is show them the money!
- Fear of Change: Change is inevitable – get over it; change is a natural
process that can be guided to positive results.
These are the “good old days”!
- Fear of Lost Profits: Will you be willing to give me 1 of something if I
give you 12 in return?
On a 1:1 basis, or even a 4:1 basis, installing cycling infrastructure will lead to joy and discovery among disposable cash spending cyclists. Creating a bike corral in the space of 1 car’s parking spot, at least 12 bicycles are able to be parked. So in exchange for 1 spot and even 4 (3 passengers) customers using that space, you now have 12!
- Fear of the Unknown: Since it is unknown, it is not worth your time (or
health) to fear “it”.
So Where’s the Money?
Cyclists spend less (on average) on car maintenance by definition – they are cyclists and drive less. Some are completely car free! Less maintenance costs (for them) turns into more disposable cash; generating business and profits for you (the owner). As an added benefit, more of that cash remains within the city or community – a win for everyone!
- According to a 2011 AAA news release the average cost of owning and maintaining a car sits around $8,000 a year.
- Of that, only 16% is retained within the local economy (which you can read about here).
- Cyclists become more aware of their surroundings and business offerings
- Cyclists can stop and impulse buy much easier than an auto-bound potential customer (and are also more likely to)
- Cyclists get hungry and thirsty by nature of their healthy activity
- Cyclists generally are healthier than the general population – thus less
health expense and more disposable income.
Ya But…ok you want more?
- St. Louis: Washington University quantified the economic benefit of their Ciclovia (open streets) as a net positive.
- New York: Car free Times Square generates more than 10% of The City’s economic activity.
- More cars != more profit. As simple as that.
BikePaths are Profitable:
- Leadville, Colorado: A 19% increase in sales tax revenues after opening of the Mineral Belt Trail (and more).
- Dunedin, Florida: 35% storefront vacancy into turned into 100% occupied after completion of the Pinellas Trail.
- Property Values: Increase 11% near bikepaths according to April Economides (a consultant to Long Beach).
- Construction: of bike lanes create about twice as many jobs as road-building for the same amount of money (a 2fer!)
If you build it, they will come…and spend – oh wait – no building required. Just 1 spot left open for 12 cyclists to securely park their bikes will do wonders to our local economy because more of those dollars will stay and circulate here rather than be exported to somewhere else. Those dollars remaining here will help cities regain their fiscal stability, and provide funds to improve the local infrastructure, which leads to more bike paths, trails, and lanes to needed destinations (wash, rinse, repeat – in a positive and sustainable way!)…
San Clemente has become a shining star by adopting into its General Plan its Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan.
Cycling advocates throughout the County can and should get their city councils to do the same.
Which city or town will be next to embrace the sustainable future?
We can help, you can use the comments below or visit: Contact us.
When you ride your bike to a local business and there’s no bike rack, do you find the manager and explain to them that you would appreciate a bike rack near their business? Success builds on success, sometimes starting with one rack, or corral in one parking lot at a time.
More towns, cities, and counties nationwide are discovering the sustainability and profitability of cycling friendly environs.
It’s a sea change all right, and a welcome one at that.
Jump in, the water’s great!