Bike Lanes are Really Good for Businesses (seriously, there are too many studies proving this)

Bike lanes are good for business and everybody knows it, except for business owners and local politicians afraid for of small minded businesses. Over at Business Insider they’re running an article that summarizes the current knowledge about bike lanes and how good they are. Like anything, there are winners and losers when it comes to change in the built environment and it’s clear some stores do better than others. The key thin is no business regrets having bike lanes once they are in. Yes, bike lanes are good for business.

The most effective way to deal with opposition from local businesses is to just get the bike lanes built. Before-and-after surveys tend to show that in the long run, everyone winds up satisfied. “It’s a political question, and oftentimes it’s a very divided community when it comes to these types of projects,” Poirier says. “But once a street is changed, generally speaking, after six months or a year, nobody remembers what it used to look like. It’s the new normal.” All the data in the world may prove that bike lanes are good for business. But nothing beats experiencing them.

Read more.

eBikes are Killing the Oil Industry

This Earth Day it’s good to reflect on one’s own love for the planet Earth. If you want to express your love and appreciation for this ball of rock and air that orbits then Sun then you should ride a bike everyday. If an ordinary bike isn’t your style then you may want to consider an ebike. The future of our built environment will be about two wheels instead of four, and this can’t happen too enough. Thankfully the rise of ebikes is bringing us that future by getting people to ditch their lethal four wheel machines for better two wheeled solutions. Indeed, the oil industry may come to end sooner than projected because ebikes are lowering demand for gasoline!

If taken up, electric micromobility can cut urban emissions. A study of e-scooter riders in the United Kingdom found these trips produced up to 45 percent less carbon dioxide than alternatives.

US researchers estimate that if e-bike trips expanded to 11 percent of all vehicle trips, transport emissions would fall by about 7 percent.

As petrol prices increase and battery prices fall, the cheaper running costs of electric vehicles and even cheaper running costs of electric mopeds, bikes, and scooters will keep eating away at the demand for oil.

Global oil demand is now projected to peak in 2028 at 105.7 million barrels per day—and then begin to fall, according to the International Energy Agency.

Read more.

Johns Hopkins: Narrow Lanes Save Lives

Johns Hopkins has reached a conclusion: to protect lives we need to narrow lives. Cars kill. Cars (and the people driving them) are more likely to cause death when they move fast and wide lanes encourage speeding. A logical step to curb reckless driving by car drivers is to limit the space they have to drive cars, and make the space they drive in more interesting. By narrowing lanes there are many benefits to be had by society at large. It’s good to see an institution like Johns Hopkins has figure out that car focussed design is not a good thing – streets are for people.

  • Narrower lanes did not increase the risk of accidents. When comparing 9- and 11-foot lanes, we found no evidence of increased car crashes. Yet, increasing to 12-foot lanes did increase the risk of crashes, most likely due to drivers increasing their speed and driving more carelessly when they have room to make mistakes.
  • Speed limit plays a key role in travel width safety. In lanes at 20-25 mph speeds, lane width did not affect safety. However, in lanes at 30-35 mph speeds, wider lanes resulted in significantly higher number of crashes than 9-foot lanes.
  • Narrower lanes help address critical environmental issues. They accommodate more users in less space, use less asphalt pavement, with less land consumption and smaller impervious surface areas.
  • Narrowing travel lanes could positively impact the economy. This includes raising property values, boosting business operation along streets and developing new design projects.

Read more.

In Winnipeg the Electric Past is the Future

Broadway looking east, 1914.
Archives of Manitoba, Wpg/Streets/Broadway 11

The city of Winnipeg was once a leader in sustainable transit then along came the automobile and the city is now known for the worst intersection in Canada (it’s so bad they ban pedestrians from using it). Winnipeg was home to one the largest electric trolley network and the city was built along the transit lines with large bueatgul streets. Today, the city is dominated by cars. The future of transit in the city will return to its former glory days slowly but surely. Winnipeg is looking to electrify their public transit network and they can serve as a model city for other Canadian communities that want to return to friendly transit.

And though it wasn’t a priority, Winnipeg was an early adopter of emissions-free transit. “You didn’t think of the environment or anything like that back then,” Agnew says. Today, of course, things have changed. Winnipeg is just one of many cities planning a cleaner, lower emissions transportation network.

In a twist of fate, local company New Flyer Industries — which manufactured Winnipeg’s first diesel buses under the name Western Flyer in 1967 — secured a contract in 2022 to produce up to 166 battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell buses for the city over the next four years. With electric bus technology will come a new era of electric transit infrastructure, including charging stations, hydrogen production capacity and a re-configuration of the transit network.

Read more.

Active Transportation 10x More Cost Effective Than Passive Transportation

Want a better city but are limited by money? You should invest in active transportation first and foremost. Yet another study has shown that providing spaces for pedestrians and cyclists are a way better investment to improve urban wellbeing than leaving space to metal boxes on wheels. This most recent study comes from New Zealand where they are striving to make cities sustainable and healthy. Some cities try to improve the health and wellbeing of people by asking car owners to “share the road” or “not to murder non-drivers” in safety ads. It turns out the better thing to do is provide physical space for people to enjoy life. Let’s hope a people-first approach is adopted everywhere.

That’s not all. “The study demonstrates that the ‘benefit-to-cost’ ratio of the investment made by two city councils together with the New Zealand Transport Agency is around ten to one,” he says. “The study provides hard evidence of the benefits of investing in walking and cycling infrastructure and educational programmes, which comfortably exceed the costs. This is particularly useful at a time when the government is finalising its policy statement on land transport.”

So what will our cities look like five years from now? Great question. But it seems planners and various officials would do well to consider the benefits of cycleways and walkways – including from a financial standpoint.

Read more.

Scroll To Top