Open Phones: Do Bike Lanes Affect Shopping?

Friday, December 28, 2012

One facet of the ongoing debate over expanding bike lanes is their effect on shopping.What about you? Have existing bike lanes affected your shopping habits? Are you a store owner -- are people biking or driving to your shop? Call 212-433-9692 and share your specific experience, or post here.

Comments [32]


I was listening to the guy who says he doesn't come down to the LES from Washington Heights for dinner anymore because of parking....Hello?! You live in Manhattan, have you ever heard of cabs or the subway? Granted I know subway service on the LES is not as plentiful as uptown or on the west side, but still, some Manhattan residents are just SO lazy it drives me nuts!

Dec. 29 2012 09:57 AM
Red Waters from Brooklyn

Bike lanes should be created between the sidewalk (for pedestrian traffic) and parked cars, rather than between parked cars and automobile flow. This is done in parts of Europe and perhaps other places as well. There are several advantages to this. One is that bike riders are protected from street traffic by the space for parked cars. Another is that bike lanes don't interfere with cars stopping or parking short-term to drop-off deliveries and passengers.

Dec. 29 2012 06:25 AM
Sandra from Brooklyn

As a driver, the only difference between the shopping now with the bike lanes, as opposed to before without bike lanes, is that you can rarely double-park and shop. If you've ever tried to drive down Grand street in Manhattan before the bike lane was built, you'd remember that it was virtually impossible to pass through. People, cars and trucks alike, would double park on both sides of the street and completely disrupt the flow of traffic. It feels like limiting space has made traffic flow better.
This means that shoppers have to buy quantities that they are able to carry, or, have their large sized purchases delivered.
This would probably improve the flow of traffic on Lee Avenue in the Hassidic area of Brooklyn.

Dec. 28 2012 12:17 PM
Eric McClure from Park Slope

If bike lanes were bad for business, people in Copenhagen wouldn't earn 40% more than New Yorkers. But they do.

Dec. 28 2012 12:12 PM
JanO from BedStuy

Nobody has mentioned the elephant in the room.
The scourge of getting around the city by any means are the delivery trucks, vans, even tractor-trailers, etc. that double park, block parking, block bike lanes, sometimes block whole blocks for hours. Probably what all those store owners are worried about, their deliveries... I suspect that was the real reason the bike lane was taken off Bedford Av in Hassidic Williamsburg...

Surely some system could be devised that prohibited oversize vehicles from entering city streets...depots set up so merchandize could be transferred to smaller vehicles, schedules... something.

Dec. 28 2012 11:16 AM
JhunLup from UWS

I've been riding in NYC for 15 years, I tend to go to shops where they actually let me bring the bike inside their shop. The old EMS on W62 before they had a bike shop, some bars and restaurants when they're not packed, most banks, my dentist on 25 CPW, Henry's up by Columbia U. I was surprised at how many shops said yes if they had space and they wanted my business, and I would remember to reward those shops with my business even if I'm not on my bike.

You won't know until you ask nicely (have a clean bike), I was surprised a packed grocery store on Elizabeth street in Chinatown found space my bike for 20 minutes. People won't blink an eye walking into Fairway on w74 with their double wide baby strollers blocking the aisles (and a bike stays put in a corner).

Re: UWS bike lanes - The jury is still out until Bikeshare reaches UWS in 2/3? years, right now there seems to be a calming effect but southbound vehicles on Columbus Ave. presents a new danger requiring new skill set for survival.

Dec. 28 2012 11:10 AM

To Robert from NYC (the very first post) - You make a great point.

But I still think that the main reason why car-alternative transportation works so well in Europe is because (1)public transportation is reliable, inexpensive and time efficient (2)bike share is inexpensive and convenient and (3)the cost of gas is so high in Europe.

Dec. 28 2012 11:04 AM
Evin from Brooklyn

I am a pedestrian, a cyclist and a driver in this city. I find it odd that shops are complaining about a loss of parking to protected bike lanes. The parking still exists, it's just a few feet further away from curb.

Also, those that complain about the recklessness of cyclists. Have you seen how lawless drivers are in this city? I have seen so many people running red lights, going to the wrong way down one way streets, making illegal turns from wrong lanes. And I see pedestrians wandering into bike lanes all the time and getting mad when a bike zips past them to closely.

I wish everyone, on any form of transport would be a little more courteous to each other.

Dec. 28 2012 11:01 AM
NS from Bklyn

I own a car in the city. More than bike lanes, I've seen city government designate areas "no parking" and change parking rules in ways that are making it nearly impossible for car owners in some neighborhoods. For example, during a recent errand to the Upper East Side (coming from Brooklyn a car is SO much faster and I was picked-up a piece of furniture), I noticed that all of the numbered residential streets (not avenues) had been designated "no parking loading trucks only" even on Saturday. I saw four police roaming the streets in an 8 block radius, giving parking to any cars that hadn't obeyed the signs. I saw one truck in that same radius, that was loading/unloading. I can't begin to imagine how car owners are coping with that.

In my Brooklyn neighborhood, the town recently made fourth avenue narrower, shrinking four lanes on each side down to three. They then designated Fourth Ave "no parking 7 - 10 a.m. weekdays". This avenue used to allow parking any time of day except for the typical obligatory intermittent street cleaning. It has now become extremely difficult to find parking during weeknights because the hundreds of cars that used to park on Fourth Ave now have to park in other areas of the neighborhood - the squeeze is on.

City government has also seemingly extended "no parking anytime" areas, making them larger and including more of them on every block, seemingly inexplicably.

This doesn't have to be about car versus bike. It's about an ever decreasing amount of space, while the city government seemingly makes it harder for cars. Perhaps it's to disincentivize people from driving cars in the city, but it seems that we can all have a little more harmony if these senseless parking changes weren't not taking place.

Dec. 28 2012 10:57 AM
sAM from Monmouth County, NJ

The bike lanes do affect the shops. I live in central NJ. I had to move there for work years ago having lived in Hamilton Heights for years. I love the upper Westside, it matches my soul. Unfortunately, I can not see the name of the stores as I drive by and I can not park and stroll the streets easily. Sure, there are parking garages but check out the cost of that parking. It used to be reasonable but is now impossible. I depend on street parking so I'll have enough money to actually buy something. I no longer shop between 96 and 72nd street.

Dec. 28 2012 10:55 AM
Stephen Lugosi from Manhattan

Bike lane's

Manhattan should be taking away parking spots not adding. Paris, France did.
Why these big environmental advocates drive
Driving on the island should only be for taxis limos commercial delivery emergency vehicles
The rest of the people should take our amazing public transportation.
We need regulated bike lanes ad law enforcement.

Dec. 28 2012 10:55 AM
Mo from Brooklyn

I am a cyclist who obeys the laws (and I am not a liar, Stephen). I was hit by a car last Jan 1 and ended up with a broken back and was out of work for 5 months. The car ran the red light as I was going through the green.

I believe the accident could have been avoided if there had been daylighting at that intersection. Is one parking place really more valuable than broken bones or potential death? Bike lanes and traffic calming measures are good for the community as a whole, cyclists and pedestrians alike.

Dec. 28 2012 10:55 AM
Randi from Brooklyn

In response to the caller who says he no longer goes to LES:

It wasn't just bike lanes; it was also the change of the demographic of the neighborhood.

The one thing that bike lanes did was reduce the amount of road lanes that drivers have, including buses. That is annoying.

But the caller probably doesn't go to the LES anymore because the neighborhood has changed. Like me, he probably isn't into the homogenous, overpriced "hipster chic" that's taken over.

Dec. 28 2012 10:52 AM
Ken from UWS

I shop in my neighborhood on foot and I’m willing to walk in about a 10-block radius. If I have safe places to bike, that radius gets tripled. It’s not far enough to take a subway or a bus, but by bike it opens up a whole new shopping area, shops I never would visit now. Bikes fill an empty space in the transportation system, which is the whole point of bike share -- places that are too far to walk to, but too close to justify public transportation.

Dec. 28 2012 10:48 AM
Lisa from East Harlem

To the man in Washington Heights who "just doesn't go downtown for dinner anymore:" you need to drive?!?! Seriously, man, this is Manhattan. How about taking a taxi, or (horrors!) public transportation?

Dec. 28 2012 10:48 AM
Snoop from brooklyn

Goodness, "bike lanes destroyed the small mom and pop businesses," and were replaced by big stores because only big stores can afford the high rents.


So, to understand the logic, the small stores have been driven out and replaced by large stores by bike lanes? And those bike lanes have resulted in higher rents that only large stores can afford? And that is because there is less traffic?

I really don't follow this... though it seems as though when people hate bike lanes they will blame them for everything...

Dec. 28 2012 10:47 AM
Paul from GC

This is a slightly expanded subject: Several Avenues should be open only to bikes and buses. This would open up the road for both, and decrease travel time. Bikes are also greatly slowed down in traffic too and would stop the weaving bicyclists tend to do which is a hazard to themselves.

Dec. 28 2012 10:46 AM

when drivers have four lanes they weave willy nilly.
and tell that caller the subway goes downtown now. leave his car at home.

Dec. 28 2012 10:46 AM


Dec. 28 2012 10:46 AM
Larry from Brooklyn

1. Why do these people drive around manhattan for dinner, etc.?
2. The chain stores came in way before bike lanes so I do not see a relationship.
3. Streets are public places. Why do car owners feel they have a right to a parking spot?

I personally do not use (unprotected) bike lanes here in wburg (I just walk) since the cars do not respect bike riders (I do agree that bike riders often do not follow laws).

Dec. 28 2012 10:45 AM
MikeInBrklyn from Clinton Hill

This caller from the Upper West Side needs to drive to go to dinner on the lower east side? Forget about bikes, does this guy not know about the great mass transit system of bus and subway in NYC? Sheeez!!

Dec. 28 2012 10:45 AM from East 80's

LOVE the guy who window shops while operating a moving bike.
It's better because you can see more than you might from a car you're driving!
Am I alone in thinking this is unconscionable behavior?

Dec. 28 2012 10:44 AM
Henry from Manhattan

There’s really no relationship between a dearth of mom & pop stores and bike lanes.

Dec. 28 2012 10:44 AM
art525 from Park Slope

Chris who just called in said he sees things in store windows and might stop, chain his bike up and go in to check it out. Here's a crazy idea- how about walking down the street and looking in store windows. You'll actually see a lot more. I have lived in NYC for thirty years and the thing I have always loved about this city is that it has always been referred to as a walking city. Nowadays I have to look over my shoulder to make sure there isn't a biker bearing down on me. Hey maybe he's looking in store windows as he rides instead of looking where he is going and watching out for us pedestrians.

Dec. 28 2012 10:44 AM
Chris from Queens

To the man complaining that he has to go into the street to get into the passenger side of the car: this is true on streets without bike lanes as well. Is this offensive to you?

Dec. 28 2012 10:43 AM
Jf from Bk

Bikes make the street 30% safer. Saving lives. Cars choke the air with toxic carcinogens. Cars cause asthma, hurricanes, flood, drought, obesity, unnessesary expense, a.d waste of time stuck in traffic, lookling for non existant parking spots. Cyclists get doored 5x a year! My finger is broken! Stop driving! You belong to the worlds biggest suicide cult drivers!

Dec. 28 2012 10:42 AM
Stephen from Manhattan

I have no objection to bike lines. I object to most bicyclists. Show me 100 bicyclists who claim to obey traffic laws and I will show you 100 liars.

Most bicyclists seem to believe that being on a bike is license to ignore traffic laws: they ride in the wrong direction, COMPLETELY ignore traffic signals, rarely yield the right of way to pedestrians, and consider consider sidewalks perfectly acceptable to use at their convenience. I'll also bet that fewer than 2% of bicyclists have front and rear lights or any sort of bell to alert pedestrians.

A bike can be nearly as lethal to a pedestrian as a car. Bikes and bicyclists over 10 years old should be licensed and traffic laws enforced. Three violations and the cops confiscate the bike and revoke the bicyclists license. Period.

Dec. 28 2012 10:42 AM
Anne from UWS

The bike lanes that pass my block (West 86th St. & Columbus Ave.) are used almost exclusively by delivery guys. I moved there in August and have learned to look to my right when crossing, even though the lanes are regulated by traffic lights. Few cyclists adhere to the lights, so my point is that, while my shopping habits haven't changed, I have been heard to say that it's more likely that I be killed by a bike than a car. (Being a little facetious, here.)

Dec. 28 2012 10:40 AM

We saw a petition being sponsored to prevent a bike path in our neighborhood by a local restaurant. Despite our desire to try out this restaurant, we always say "nope, they don't support bike lanes" and we have never eaten there as a result.

Dec. 28 2012 10:39 AM
Brian from UWS from UWS

With parking meter fees eliminated on Sundays a few years ago, and therefore time limits, parking is useless to shoppers who drive. Why don't shopkeepers who claim they need more parking complain about that?

Dec. 28 2012 10:29 AM

Or is it the shop owners who get to park in front of their shops?

Dec. 28 2012 10:11 AM
Robert from NYC

Only in this country do we ask ourselves such stupid questions! You know everything affects everything else with which it comes into contact. The problem is that we don't know how to adapt to change. I've been in many European cities where bikes are just part of the way of life, the culture the social structure. Laws and rules apply to bikes, as they do to motor traffic and, yes, even to pedestrians. Once established and the "kids" learn to use the rules, believe it or not, it all works out. My personal experience is that the best place to go to see how bikes and people and motor vehicles get along just fine is Amsterdam. There may be better examples somewhere else in the world but I can only speak for myself and my experiences. Check it out folks and get over it cyclers we've ALL got to get it working together. Really Americans, get outside yourselves, you're only a minor percentage of the global population.

Dec. 28 2012 10:08 AM

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