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This is the point I made in the blog response the other day. Even in places like Portland and Montreal, which are national leaders in their respective countries for promoting bicycling, you get opposition by merchants to creating bike lanes--because they think all their customers only drive.

The thing is that most merchants don't think in differentiated fashion about their market segments, they pretty much think, because they have been patterned by automobility, that everyone drives.

The fact is that most city businesses are supported by city residents. People driving in and out of the city who don't live here don't typically shop in the city.

So then the issue is how many customers come by bike and by car and on foot. We don't have good data on this (it's something the city should do studies on).

Generally, with time, merchants understand the value of bicycle-based consumers in city commercial districts.

This study in SF found that 2/3 of the merchants found that adding bicycle lanes to their street aided their business:


This article from the Bike Portland site includes a quote that bike parking supports more customers than a single parking space so generally merchants are in favor:


This by the way is the issue with Eastern Market merchants with regard to closing 7th Street on weekends. There were only about 14 parking spaces (because most of the other ones next to the shed were used by merchants) and no time restrictions, so the spaces hardly turned over. But all the inside merchants don't live in DC. They drive to work and think all their customers drive too, even though most of Eastern Market's customers are foot-based. Although valet and delivery services ought to be offered as I have suggested for 3 years and it turns out, closing the street was recommended in a 1987 study of the market.

I would not expect anything better from the Examiner - but unfortunately people do read it and we need to do what we can to counteract.

*"We are still a city of drivers,..." she said.*

Perhaps that's true, but that's part of what the bike lanes are about...changing the focus of travel in the city from driving to more liveable, sustainable, rational forms of locomotion, be they on two feet or two wheels.

I've worked with Gerry at DBID. He's a friend to cyclists. The Downtown BID's Transportation planner is one of the most gung-ho bike commuters I know. DBID will get the downtown merchants in line.

I work at 1152 15th. There's plenty of parking if you're willing to pay for it.

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