Bike lanes and retail sales: A rigorous coast-to-coast study is in the works

November 6, 2017

by Michael Andersen, PlacesForBikes staff writer

Seven cities have opted into a new study by Portland State University and the research firm Bennett Midland to carefully test what happens to retail sales on a street when it gets redesigned — to add bike lanes, for example.

The project will draw on sales tax data from specific streets in Minneapolis; Memphis; Seattle; Washington, D.C.; Austin; Pittsburgh; and Indianapolis. Each city is chipping in $8,000 to help cover the cost of the study.

“We’re really excited to participate,” said Virginie Nadimi, a planner with the Minneapolis Department of Public Works. “That data is really key in helping us understand the impacts on the ground floor and retail level. … This gives us the ability to work across departments to get access to that data.”

Nadimi said she hopes the sales tax figures will help expand the City’s project evaluation efforts, in addition to other approaches such as intercept surveys and personal perspectives.

“We’re really hoping that this data can tell a more objective story,” she said.

Data will be gathered this fall and results will be published by summer 2018.

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