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Shoppers Love Bikelanes, Along with some Merchants

Bloor and Runnymede

Bloor and Runnymede

The Clean Air Partnership released a study today (PDF) about the attitudes of shoppers in the upscale Bloor West Village towards altering the street design of Bloor Street to allow for bikelanes and/or wider sidewalks.

As Duncan has already quoted on his blog:

The dominant mode of transportation in the Bloor West Village is walking, followed by public transit. Only 1 in 5 of visitors surveyed reported driving to the neighbourhood and parking there. The visitor survey data indicate that the majority (58%) support changes to the street use allocation. Curiously, cycling is the least frequent mode of transportation in this neighbourhood, and yet nearly 75% of those visitors who preferred a change in street use allocation would prefer the addition of a bike lane.

Visitor survey respondents who reported that they usually drive, were found to visit less frequently and spend significantly less money per month in the neighbourhood than those who did not drive. Visitors who preferred changes in street use allocation spend significantly more in the neighbourhood than those who prefer no change.

In terms of merchant perceptions of the impacts of changes in street use allocation, 54% of merchants in Bloor West Village indicated that they would expect no change or an increase in their number of daily customers as a result of either a bike lane or widened sidewalks, even if half of the on-street parking were to be removed in order to accommodate the changes.

This follows up last year’s study release of the same name “Bike Lanes, On-Street Parking and Business” (PDF) that looked at the same kind of perceptions of shoppers and merchants in Bloor’s Annex neighbourhood.  The results are much the same – that most shoppers get to stores via walking or public transit, and that they tend to shop more often and spend more money than drivers do, and that both shoppers and merchants would like to see bikelanes.

So, what does this tell us?  It says the despite a media generated “war on the car”, what we are seeing from City Hall when they pursue transit-friendly, bike-friendly and pedestrian-friendly initiatives, it is a response to the residents and merchants of neighbourhoods who want more livable, breathable, and friendly streets.

After all, Toronto is a “City of Neighbourhoods”, not a “City of Highways”.  Don’t let anyone tell you that should change.

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