You might remember a wave of news stories that broke around this time last year with headlines like: “Columbus Avenue Business Owners Say Bike Lanes Driving Down Bottom Line,” or “Lack of Parking Destroying Columbus Avenue Business,” or “Study: Street Redesign Hurting Upper West Side Businesses.”
The Columbus Avenue bike lane, with its 28 pedestrian refuges and parking-protected space for cycling, was a recent addition to the streetscape, and some merchants said they were having a harder time with deliveries. A few claimed the loss of some parking spots was repelling customers from one of the most walkable, transit-accessible places on Earth. Filtered through the New York media megaphone, the story turned into a bike lane-induced cataclysm for merchants.
Here we are a year later, and this piece of news in the Commercial Observer seems worth amplifying: “Columbus Avenue BID Boasts 100 Percent Retail Occupancy.”
The bike lane extends five blocks into the area covered by the Columbus Avenue BID, or about a third of its territory. According to the Observer, retail occupancy in the BID usually hovers around 94 percent. We don’t have retail occupancy rates for the whole length of the project, and it’s too early to say if the bike lane is making retail space more attractive, but there sure doesn’t seem to be any cataclysm. (From a safety perspective, there’s no doubt that the bike lane improved Columbus: DOT reported last year that traffic injuries declined 27 percent after installation.)
Will there be follow-up coverage from Tony Aiello and company?