Lessons from Bikestravaganza, Part 2: Bike Business

Bikestravaganza rolled into Seattle Saturday and sparked some interesting conversations. Here is part two of our series about ideas taken from the night.

When Portland announced it was looking for a couple businesses to turn the parking spots in front of their storefronts into bike corrals, people scoffed. Now, after the projects have proven to be great successes, businesses are lining up to have PDOT take out their parking and put in corrals, Bikestravaganza organizer Elly Blue said during the presentation. A bike-based business force has also emerged, they said, that has proven a powerful lobby in the city’s government.

Seattle has seen a similar arc in the city’s efforts to install on-street bike parking. Businesses were reluctant at first, but now there is a backlog.

One big selling point for the on-street bike parking I didn’t think about before is that a big SUV parked in front of your shop blocks it from view, where a bicycle rack keeps your storefront visible. Add that to the fact that a full bike rack yields way more people than one car, and this seems like a great business decision (unless you are selling cinder blocks or something, in which case you may have few bicycle-riding patrons).

After witnessing so-called business alliances and chambers of commerce fight and stall projects like the Ballard Missing Link and complete street projects like Nickerson, it would be interesting to see what would happen with a pro-bike businesses alliance lobbying the city, as well (this is, of course, assuming the current organizations cannot be won over or redirected by new leadership). Is there an alliance of Ballard businesses that want the missing link to be completed? That would likely be a helpful voice, and good advertising, too. Are there business organizations that are doing great things to advance the cause of bicycle transportation? Comment away.

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