Do lane changes help or hurt retail? National study seeks streets to analyze

August 10, 2017

Michael Andersen, PlacesForBikes staff writer

Many cities are interested in reallocating space on their streets — from parking lanes to bike lanes, for example, or travel lanes to sidewalk space.

But almost whenever they’re proposed, a valid question arises: What effect do redesigns have on nearby commercial activity?

A new study wants to answer that question, and is seeking cities willing to help.

There is, as one recent study of this subject noted, a large “gray literature” of anecdotal or semi-rigorous analyses of this question. Now, PeopleForBikes is teaming up with Portland State University and the research firm Bennett Midland to complete the most comprehensive look into this question yet.

The study will analyze the economic effects of 6 to 8 street improvements around the United States. The goal is to help guide cities and policymakers in their planning and investment decisions.

Participating cities must chip in $8,000 to support the study costs. For that (plus some help tracking down the data) they’ll receive a transparent, authoritative third-party analysis, a publicly accessible guide to the findings and a methodology that they or others can apply to future analyses.

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

If your city has a corridor that completed some sort of reallocation of road space by 2014 at the latest, you can learn more about how to get involved here. Email any questions to [email protected]

PlacesForBikes helps U.S. communities build better biking, faster. You can follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook or sign up for our weekly news digest about building all-ages biking networks. Story tip? Write [email protected]

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