News Study: Portland businesses believe in bike parking benefits
Author: By Jonathan Maus
Posted: May 25, 2010

A preliminary study of Portland's on-street bike parking corrals shows they've got widespread support from nearby business owners. The report also found that business owners perceive one out of every four of their customers arrive by bike.

The study was done by Drew Meisel, a graduate student in Portland State University's School of Urban Studies and Planning and Fellow at the Institute of Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation who's currently working as an intern at Alta Planning and Design.

(Photo © J. Maus)
Meisel heard from 44 businesses (our of 132 he surveyed) that operate within one half-block of Portland's many on-street bike corrals (the number of which has grown from one in 2004 to nearly 50 today). The study included an online survey along with empirical analysis of each corral's location.

The results of the survey showed that businesses perceived on average that 24.8% of their total customer base arrive on bicycles. More than 2/3 said that both the rate of bike-riding customers and the demand for bike parking has risen over time.

One question on the survey asked businesses whether they agreed or disagreed that the presence of the bike corral enhanced the "street and neighborhood identity." Meisel reports that a whopping 84 percent strongly agreed or agreed that "bike corrals enhance the street and neighborhood for residents and patrons."

"This perception of an enhanced street identity is very important because many local businesses rely on a dynamic shopping environment to attract customers-that the bike corrals play a part in creating this atmosphere..."

Meisel says businesses who took the survey noted three key benefits to the bike corrals: an increase in the number of customers; an improved sidewalk/cafe seating environment; and improved visibility of the business from the street.

This is a good first step in gathering data on the impact of bike corrals both to parking congestion and business, but Meisel acknowledges that more in-depth research is needed.

On that note, the Bureau of Transportation is gearing up for their first-ever bike corral user counts this summer.

Download a PDF of the study, Bike Corrals: Local Business Impacts, Benefits, and Attitudes.