Will Light Rail Kill Businesses?

Rick Harrison tells a parable of a small businessman who's auto shop is decimated when a traffic engineer decides to put a median on the adjoining road, eliminating left turns into his shop. Will light rail essentially do the same?

Harrison is talking specifically about the new light rail going up in Minneapolis. He argues:

"Building a barrier down the center of a street cannot be good for business. When driving, the only way to access the vast majority of the businesses on the opposite side of the street is to drive a distance to the next major intersection, then make a (probably illegal) u-turn and drive all the way back. Given this choice, most potential customers will bypass the business, and some may choose to stop at the competition on the convenient side of the street."

He also argues in favor of personal rapid transit (PRT) instead, and that pedestrians are unlikely to take to the light rail in the winter when temperatures dip below zero.

Full Story: Light Rail & Left Turns

Comments

Comments

he's not quite right

There isn't a lot of research on this, since busness owners are reluctant to give out their financial data. However, there is evidence that businesses can benefit from medians if traffic volumes are high enough, since medians improve traffic flow and people will stop avoiding the area. The caviat was businesses that rely on drive-by traffic will suffer unless they are near a median break. In this case, though, they may pick up walk-by traffic from transit users.

Based on the appearance of the west end of the road, it gets a lot of traffic. They wouldn't be proposing a four lane road if it didn't.

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