We have focused before in past posts on the benefits of bike lanes for businesses. Businesses, however, often do not like changes that provide any thought of risk to their business and to their profit. Creating protected or dedicated bike lanes on streets can pose potential risks for businesses’ profit. But in the long run, we see that there are many more benefits for businesses to accept bike lanes and bike access to streets outside their business storefronts. Biking allows more people to move more efficiently around the city, reduces traffic, and perhaps the most important aspect is that bikers are more likely to stop more at businesses because they can move more freely in an area than one can with a car. Businesses do see the risk in bike lanes taking away parking or stopping areas in front of their stores. Michael Andersen, writer for PeopleForBikes, discussed that there are two ways to positively approach the creation of dedicated bike lanes.
Governments should act in the public interest of making complete streets accessible to all. And, businesses should have public interest in mind as well but should know that the government is willing to help them get their needs met too.
The Jefferson Hotel in D.C. provides a good example of what it is like for a business or service provider to accept bike lanes and fight for their needs as well. The Jefferson Hotel is prominent hotel on M Street NW close to the White House. A dedicated bike lane was created right outside the hotel, taking away the access for taxis and cars to pull up to the front door. John Stokes, the Director of Risk Management for the hotel, understood the importance of having bike lanes in DC, allowing people to get around the city more efficiently. He decided to not fight the bike lanes but to ask the government to allot the hotel two spaces for standing cars alongside 16th Street NW. Stokes believes that the bike lane is an opportunity, something they can work within and not fight against it.
Bike lanes are extremely important to our White Flint district residents, which is why they are incorporated in many of the Sector plans. We hope that our current businesses and future businesses will welcome these bikes lanes and understand the benefits. But, we need to be on the lookout for ways to maximize their potential.
Stay tuned until tomorrow for an update on the Great Montgomery County Bike Summit from this past Saturday, where these issues were discussed in great importance.