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The Salt Lake City Recipe: Remove Parking, Add Bike Lanes, Watch Sales Increase

A new study of the benefits of a bike lane project in Salt Lake City adds to the body of work suggesting that complete streets overhauls are a good investment for both the public and the private sectors.
October 7, 2015, 11am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"A growing body of evidence suggests that if bike lanes and parking removal are part of a general plan to slow traffic, everybody can win," according to a post by Michael Anderson. The latest example: Salt Lake City, where a recently released study "found that when parking removal was done as part of a wide-ranging investment in the streetscape — including street planters, better crosswalks, public art and colored pavement — it converted parking spaces to high-quality bike lanes and boosted business at the same time."

Anderson provides details on the nine-block bike lane project, located in the city's historic downtown business corridor, as well as some of the findings of the report. The bike lane required parking reductions, parking reconfigurations, and fewer vehicle travel lanes. The kicker on the difference the new bike lane made: sales rose 8.8 percent along the corridor after the street configuration overhaul, compared to 7 percent citywide.

Anderson is also careful to note, that the jump in bike traffic on the street that came as a result of the new bike lane is probably not solely responsible for the jump in sales: "But that's probably not the main reason for the sales jump. Instead — as on New York City streets, which found extremely similar results in a similar 2013 study of sales tax data — Salt Lake City's experience shows that bike lanes are typically best for business when they're part of a general rethinking of the street to make it a more pleasant place to linger."

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Published on Monday, October 5, 2015 in People for Bikes
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