Yesterday I stopped by River Market Cyclery to pick up another spare bicycle tire tube (I always try to keep 2 on hand), and got into an interesting, brief, conversation with the owner.
I overheard him talking about needing access to a parking lot. Seems he no longer has parking for his customers. The street out front has been redesigned, and the spots where his customers could park cars (as opposed to bicycles — he still has a bicycle rack out there) has been taken over by a bicycle trail. So he is losing traffic because of no place for people to park.
Curious, that a bicycle lane could be a negative for the bicycle shop. But it makes sense. The lane just lets people go by. And in the winter it was a place for the road crews to shove the ice and snow (trust me, I couldn’t use the bike lane — for that matter, I should do a photo essay of all the bike lanes around town that are full of debris, dirt, etc., but I digress).
I will just make one other point. The bike lane, as far as I could tell, came about as part of another project, that for putting in the downtown cable car system, which has been tearing up streets for a couple of years to lay the track for the whole system. During that time, there were sections of streets where people couldn’t get through, and businesses were blocked. The whole project was about making good transportation and encouraging people to use the area, but a side effect was a significant detrimental impact on traffic to many small businesses. Their customers couldn’t get to them — and many doubtless didn’t come back when access was restored.
These improvements are always for the “big picture” but the impact to the small business is seldom weighed.