Salt Lake City: less cars and more bikes = a boost to retail profitability




Salt Lake City leads by example.  Retailers are renown for hitting the panic button when there are plans to remove on-street parking and add extra space for bicycles.  However, according to,  a growing body of evidence suggests that the introduction of additional bikes and bike lanes, can lead to a calmer streetscape and result in a win-win for traffic and pedestrians.  Not to mention, the positive spin off effect for retailers.

When Salt Lake City Council (SLCC) decided to implement a program to improve the local streetscape, little did they know that progressive steps such as the installation of planter boxes, better crosswalks, public art and coloured pavements would have a positive impact on the retailers in the area.  As part of the streetscape program, SLCC “created nine blocks of protected bike lanes” in it’s downtown business area.

With this push, there also came a jump in sales for local retailers.

The SLCC was so enthusiastic about the program they compared sales tax data, from local retailers along the new improved strip, between the first half of 2013, before the changes, and the first half of 2015.

As mentioned in, the graph below details how sales rose 8.8% along the project route, compared to 7% city wide.




With the implementation of these new initiatives, a more peaceful and inspiring environment has been created.  Less traffic, and no fast moving cars results in streets, where people want to linger and touch base with other members of their community.

As we all know when we have more time to ‘hang’ out, we are more likely to spend money.

This type of research will be very helpful to some Australian Councils looking to introduce shared spaces and restrict on-street parking and provide useful research to counter the usual complaints from retailers that these initiatives will have a detrimental impact on their businesses.

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