Toronto's Bloor Street Survey
- When the Clean Air Partnership raised the question of installing bike
lanes on Toronto's Bloor Street, the city's best cycling route across
town, there was the usual trepidation that the business community
would reflexively oppose the idea of giving up car parking for
cyclists. But a comprehensive survey of shoppers, merchants, and
parking patterns made the surprising discovery that pedestrians and
cyclists not only comprised the majority of visitors to the Annex
neighborhood's local merchants, but spent more money per month and
per visit than did drivers or transit users.
To read the entire (very long) report in PDF form, see http://
tinyurl.com/bckezh at the Clean Air Partnership's website.
"The general finding from this study is that pedestrians, cyclists
and transit users account for the bulk of retail spending on Bloor
Street West in the Annex neighbourhood. In fact, there is evidence to
suggest that efforts to attract more pedestrians and cyclists will
have a more positive economic impact on businesses than maintaining
the existing parking on the street. On this section of Bloor Street,
the existing parking demand can be accommodated by a reduced number
of on street parking spaces combined with the existing off street
parking spaces. It is clear that many merchants in the study area do
not view on street parking as key to their business."
While the same results might not obtain everywhere, it underscores
the importance of not making unwarranted assumptions about the
perceived "necessity" to accommodate motoring at all costs for what
may turn out, upon inspection, to be spurious economic rationales.
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