Some Price Tags posts seem to have staying power – comments-wise.  Like this one.  Biclii posted the most recent comment, which I’m referencing because of its link to an important CityLab article:


Examples are taken from around the world.  Here are the two from Canada:


Vancouver, Canada

This study of shops in downtown Vancouver did find a net decrease in sales after the implementation of a separated bike lane. But the analysis relied on business surveys, rather than actual sales data, which might have led to a response bias among the merchants who took the biggest hit. The little sales data that was received “indicated that the estimated loss in sales was not as high as reported in the surveys.”
Key line:

Despite efforts to increase response with follow-up telephone calls, there is some degree of uncertainty about the randomness of the results obtained.


Toronto, Canada

Surveys were conducted with 61 merchants and 538 patrons on Bloor Street in Toronto. It was found that only 10 percent of patrons drove to the shopping area, and that those arriving by foot and bicycle spent the most money per month. Report authors concluded that converting street parking into a bike lane in the area was “unlikely” to have a negative impact on business and that, on the contrary, “this change will likely increase commercial activity.”
Key chart:

Clean Air Partnership

 All case studies here.


  1. Let’s compare apples to apples, please. Bloor Street has two subways (E-W and N-S) nearby which can bring tens of thousands every hour. Many Vancouver shopping areas do not.
    Certainly there are many streets downtown Vancouver that would benefit from less parking, a pedestrian zone or more bike lanes, as they have a SkyTrain or CanadaLine nearby. But there are probably quite a few zones that would lose significant commercial traffic if we took cars away.
    Have you ever seen any condo development or shopping advertised as “bus stop nearby” ? The only ones that mention transit are those close to a TRAIN ie rapid transit.
    We need more rapid transit, i.e. rail based (above or below ground, or in outer less dense regions, if you must, at grade LRT/street cars). Bike lanes are nice but will not generate bulk traffic from afar, especially in winter and in the rain. As such, the opposition in many places is justified.

    1. The opposition is bizarre. Nobody could have predicted ten years ago that anyone anywhere would be opposed to bike lanes.

        1. Oh, of course but this is especially strange. Even weirder when people who benefit from it are against it and their reasons for that keep changing all the time.
          I’m glad I live in a city that’s connected to reality and who’s engineering department is evidence based.

        2. Every change, anywhere, has winner and losers, pro’s and con’s. Pro’s do not always outweigh the con’s. As such, consider both sides of an argument or change.
          More bike lanes means less parking, or less lanes, or both. Some people like that, and some don’t. Quieter shopping areas / eating areas attract more people, but only if one can get there relatively easily. As such context, i.e. alternative transportation, i.e. subways or pedestrian access matters here. If the goal is to attract more local shoppers, at the expense of more folks from far away, then it is a good idea. If less folks overall show up, then what ?
          The same argument for more bike lanes could be made for Denman and Davie.

          1. Given the studies which say that a significant fraction of those using street parking are often those who work at the stores in question, even this con might be rather less than one might imagine.

    2. Negative reactions to bike lanes happen throughout the world. Many people – especially business owners – fear change. Commercial drive is a perfect location for a complete street, since already about 15% of trips in the area are made by bike. And in Metro Vancouver, cycling has the most rapid increase in transportation mode share. Good for business, good for drivers, good in so many ways.

  2. I simply won’t drive to a Commercial Drive destination because the parking is so bad, In fact I won’t even drive ALONG Commercial Drive because the traffic is so bad. And I won’t bike there either because there’s no bike access.
    At least if there was a bike lane I’d be able to patronize the area a lot more frequently than my very occasional forays there via transit. As it is it’s just a no man’s land to me. And I can’t believe I’m the only one who feels this way.

    1. Definitely not the only one. We rode from Yaletown towards Boundary yesterday to go shopping. We rode right past Commercial Dr. We didn’t ride on it, as it needs proper infrastructure to be safe, let alone welcoming. I can’t remember the last time I drove our car to Commercial Dr.
      I am looking forward to intercept surveys for local shoppers, so there can be some evidence based decisions instead of just emotion.

      1. I’m like this on Main St., and Kingsway, and Cambie also … which means I don’t end up riding whenever I go anywhere on Main St (which is odd, since I ride prettymuch everywhere else in the city) … mainly this is because though I know I can deal with the traffic, I know anyone I ride with doesn’t want to, and not wanting to make them feel uncomfortable, I don’t even suggest it.
        Unfortunately intercept surveys won’t help reach the people who never showed up in the first place!

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