#Streetvalues - What is Biking Worth to local business?

A bike rack is worth $1935 per month to local businesses.

A bike rack is worth $1935 per month to local businesses.

  1. A Portland study found that people who traveled to a shopping area by bike spent 24% more per month than those who traveled by car. Similar trends were found for Toronto and three cities in New Zealand. (1)

    1. Auto spending per month: $61.03

    2. Bike spending per month: $75.66

  2. The SFMTA can install up to 12 bikes in a parking space, as a bike corral.

  3. The SCFTA studied parking occupancy rates in commercial districts at midday across four neighborhoods, finding an average of 85.5% occupancy (2). Turnover across the same neighborhoods averaged 0.8 vehicles per hour per spot.

  4. Applying the same turnover rates to a car parking space as to a bike corral in the same location and an 8 hour active retail window each day, we can estimate unique bike and auto visitors as:

    1. Auto: 128

    2. Bicycle: 1,536

  5. Using Portland figures for different retail expenditure levels for people who bike versus drive over month, the value of dedicating a parking space to bike racks = 1,536 * 75.66 = $116,213. This, however, assumes that all 1,536 turnovers of the bike parking spot are completely new and spend their entire monthly estimate in one trip - which is likely unreasonable.

  6. We assume instead that car and rack usage is by repeat visitor, each of whom makes 5 trips a month.

  7. This drops unique visitors for bike racks to 307 and 25 for the parking spot.

  8. The total value for bike rack usage to local retail is therefore 307 * 75.66 over a month = $23,227 and for the parking space is $1,525.

  9. Divided by the number of bike racks, each bike rack is now worth $1,935 per month to local retail.


Other facts of note:

  1. When San Francisco revamped Valencia St and installed bike lanes and wider sidewalks, 66% of merchants saw increased sales. (3)

  2. A 2008 study found that a parking space delivers 19 cents in retail revenue per hour per square foot of on-street car parking. Bike parking delivers 69 cents per square foot. (4)

  3. A 2013 survey of San Francisco’s Polk St found that only 15% of people arrived by car.

  4. One estimate suggests that a bike rack in San Francisco costs the SFMTA around $540 to install (5). After that time, the rack is effectively zero maintenance (or at least no clear figures exist for maintenance costs). Compared with parking maintenance, the 5 year cost of a bike rack relative to a parking space:

    1. On-street metered: $3,645, or nearly 7 times greater.

    2. On-street unmetered: $912, or nearly 1.6 times greater.



  1.  Kelly J. Clifton, Sara Morrissey, and Chloe Ritter, “Business Cycles: Catering to the Bicycling Market,” TR News 280, 2012: 26-32. http://bit.ly/16WKfe3; T Fleming, S Turner, and L Tarjomi, “Reallocation of road space,” NZ Transport Agency research report 530,2013. http://bit.ly/167iGlQ; Clean Air Partnership, “Bike Lanes, On-Street Parking and Business: A Study of Bloor Street in Toronto’s Annex Neighbourhood,” 2009. http://bit.ly/18hToAY. Cited in http://www.sfbike.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Protected_Bike_Lanes_Mean_Business.pdf

  2. http://www.sfcta.org/sites/default/files/content/Planning/ParkingManagementStudy/pdfs/parking_study_final.pdf

  3. Emily Drennen, “Economic Effects of Traffic Calming on Urban Small Businesses,” San Francisco State University, 2003. http://bit.ly/19NYG6m

  4.  Allison Lee, “What is the Economic Contribution of Cyclists Compared to Car Drivers in Inner Suburban Melbourne’s Shopping Strips?” Master’s Thesis, University of Melbourne, 2008. http://bit.ly/1aD65Gx

  5. http://sf.streetsblog.org/2011/08/16/why-the-sfmta-doesnt-install-short-term-residential-bike-parking/