Converting On-Street Parking to Active Transportation in Toronto: Two Studies of Merchant and Patron Preferences
Summary of the main findings of two research studies (Bike Lanes, On-Street Parking and Business. A Study of Bloor Street in Toronto's Annex Neighbourhood and Bike Lanes, On-Street Parking and Business Year 2 Report: A Study of Bloor Street in Toronto's Bloor West Village) conducted to determine the public acceptability and potential economic impact of reallocating road space from on-street parking to bike lanes or widened sidewalks. This paper was presented at the Walk 21 Conference in the Hague, Holland on November 17, 2010 and published in their proceedings.
In 2008 and 2009, Clean Air Partnership (CAP) conducted two research studies on Bloor Street in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. These studies were designed to determine the public acceptability and potential economic implications of reallocating road space from on-street parking to widened sidewalks or bike lanes. CAP released two in-depth research reports (2009, 2010) about these studies. This paper summarizes the main findings of each.
In July of 2008, 61 merchants and 538 patrons on Bloor Street in the Annex neighbourhood of downtown Toronto were surveyed.
In July of 2009, the study was replicated on the same street but in a different location further from the downtown: 96 merchants and 510 patrons on Bloor Street in Bloor West Village were surveyed.
Overall support for changes in street use allocation was greater in the Bloor Annex neighbourhood than Bloor West Village. However in both neighbourhoods, the majority of merchants believed that changes to accommodate an increase in pedestrian or cyclist infrastructure would increase or would not change their daily number of customers.
In both neighbourhoods, walking was the dominant reported mode of travel to Bloor Street (46% of the patrons surveyed in both study areas). Bicycling was more common in the Annex, and driving was more common in Bloor West Village.
In terms of patron preferences for changes to street use allocation, bike lanes were preferred over widened sidewalks in both neighbourhoods. In Bloor West Village, there was almost equal patron preference of change and no change, whereas in the Bloor Annex neighbourhood, surveyed patrons indicated a preference for a change of the street use allocation by a ratio of nearly 4 to 1.
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