Letter to the Editor: Bike lanes are good for business

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The city's plan would add a bike lane on K and Water streets NW under the Whitehurst Freeway, but it would also eliminate some on-street parking. (Brian Kapur/The Current/June 2016)

It’s time to put to rest the myth that trading on-street parking for bike lanes is bad for business [“K Street bike lane plans remain divisive,” July 12].

Despite the many community voices in support of the proposed Water Street NW bike lanes at the June 29 meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E (Georgetown, Burleith), the commission voted to delay approval of the project due, in part, to the claim that the plan would be “disastrous” for local business. However, economic impact studies have been done over and over again in cities around the world, and they all come to similar conclusions: At worst, replacing on-street parking with bike lanes has little to no impact on local retail sales, and in some cases it actually increases business.

These studies have found that while people on bikes may spend slightly less per trip than drivers, they make more trips, spend more time in the area, and spend more per month. They have also found that retailers significantly overestimate how many of their customers arrive by car, in some cases by over 500 percent.

Let’s stop using this tired argument to delay such neighborhood improvements and instead start welcoming the increased business that they will bring.