British Columbia

Vancouver bike lanes have 'moderate economic impacts'

A new study indicates downtown Vancouver's bicycle lanes are having a "moderate economic impact" on businesses.

A new study indicates downtown Vancouver's bicycle lanes are having a "moderate economic impact" on businesses.

The study estimates the total loss of sales for nearby businesses at $2.4 million, which translates into about $480,000 in lost profits over one year. The loss is moderate based on industry standards, the report reads, and is not high enough to create persistent vacancies in the area.

"Well, I just think it reinforces kind of a gut feeling that I had that these separated bike lanes, although they're a good thing to do from an environmental perspective and from a safety perspective for the cyclist, there's another side to it," said Charles Gauthier with the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association.

"It does have an economic impact on businesses as a whole."

The study revealed a few 'hot spot' blocks along the corridors where some businesses reported greater negative impacts than others. The report makes a number of suggestions to lessen the impact on businesses, including making changes to turning restrictions, signals, parking and loading zones.

"The City of Vancouver takes the concerns of businesses very seriously and is committed to verifying and mitigating impacts of the separated bike lanes, especially impacts that weigh heavier on smaller businesses," said Mayor Gregor Robertson.

"We will continue to work directly with businesses on appropriate solutions and make case-by-case accommodations where possible."

About one third of the businesses contacted for the survey responded.

The survey was prepared by Stantec Consulting Ltd. with Site Economics and the Mustel Group Market Research for the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Board of Trade and the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association.

A separate report from the City of Vancouver indicates more people are using the bike lanes.

The study indicates 55,000 trips were made on the Dunsmuir lanes in June — 7,000 more than at any time in 2010.

The business impact report and separate transportation status report for the bike lanes will be presented to Vancouver city council on July 28.