The new report, Measuring the Street [PDF], which was published this week by New York City's Department of Transportation, provides another tool for city leaders and advocates of its progressive street initiatives to help "rebuff critics who consider the policies to be undue interventions from a meddling city," writes Matt Flegenheimer.
Using data culled from the Department of Finance on the performance of small businesses in areas in which projects have been implemented, the report found that "[b]usinesses that operate nearby have seen a pronounced bump."
"These projects are not just about the quality of life or aesthetics," Janette Sadik-Khan, the city's transportation commissioner, said in a phone interview. "In case after case, these projects really do set the table for economic development."
Of the many examples outlined, the most dramatic may be in Brooklyn: "where a parking area on Pearl Street was converted into a plaza, retail sales have increased 172 percent for neighboring businesses, compared with 18 percent throughout the borough."