Saturday, June 07, 2008

Small business and bike lanes on Market Street

murphstahoe (http://sub20olh.blogspot.com/) wrote:
"The small businesses on Market Street were on the losing end of this arrogance by the city and the bike people."

Do you have data that they have seen a drop in business? Hard data? Anecdotal data? Or are you just making this up? I'd be satisfied if you even said "I went and talked to the guy at Flax, and Delissio, and they said they are getting hammered due to the parking spots being gone" (assuming you weren't lying about talking to them).

Rob responds:
I haven't polled the many Market Street businesses that protested taking away street parking to make bike lanes between Van Ness and Octavia Blvd. since the city did that in 2006. I did receive an email from a business owner on Market Street last month that said, among other things, "I could certainly attest to the adverse effects that the removal of the parking meters has had on my business."

I did several blog posts on the issue at the time, including one that transcribed the public comments of 18 businesses at the BOS committee meeting where it was accomplished.

Regardless of the merits of the project, the worst thing about it was that it was done quickly at the behest of the mayor's office so that the parking meters would be removed and the bike lanes in place in time for Bike to Work Day that year. Two representatives from DPT said this at the meeting, so the supervisors on that committee---Ma, Mirkarimi, and Dufty---clearly understood that. Only Supervisor Ma expressed any concern about the accelerated process.

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13 Comments:

At 2:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

but how would the merchant be able to determine that the removal of parking spots is what's causing the business slowdown and not some other factor (such as the general economic slowdown, the weak dollar, or higher gas prices, higher rents, job losses, etc.)?

 
At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

business owners that can't run a sucessful business in san francisco without convenient parking right out front of their store probably aren't very bright business owners.

 
At 1:11 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

what anonymous said. Parking at Bi-Rite market is downright horrible. Yet you cannot even move in their store due to the steady stream of patrons. If parking issues are driving businesses in the Market St. corridor out of business, this is probably the best thing that could happen - the businesses will be replaced with better businesses that people actually want to patronize, not ones they patronize simply because there is no better option.

 
At 12:05 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, it's all for the best in the best of all possible worlds. It's all part of the benign, Darwinian process that weeds out unfit businesses in the city. Here, however, the city is doing the weeding out by going out of its way to hurt these operations. Among the businesses that protested the removal of street parking: a cancer clinic, the public access TV office/studio, a music store, a bar, a church, a specialty food store, a jewelry store, and a mattress manufacturer. That Mayor Newsom---a former small businessman himself---would thoughtlessly harm these operations is troubling. Of course it's not surprising that the Board of Supervisors and the SF Bicycle Coalition would do so; they are ideologues that have contempt for business.

 
At 2:25 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

Identify the business owner who says he has been adversely affected, and I will go talk to him to confirm your statement.

 
At 2:30 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

OK - I clicked through your link. That would help.

Antiquerio doesn't even have a website. He doesn't need to lose parking spaces to be Darwined out.

 
At 5:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to ask all the business owners along Market Street to produce sales-tax receipts for a one year period before and after the bike lanes were added...and compare them to sales tax receipts across the city. i have a sneaking suspicion that these businesses have not been harmed by the bike lanes or parking removal as they claim...

 
At 5:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For someone so adamant about the Bike Plan being put through the EIR process, it seems hearsay from just one person is enough when it comes to parking.

Mr. Albanese doesn't even try to hide his anti-bike, CarThink bias by only measuring bike traffic during mostly non-peak hours. Auto traffic on Market goes down after 11 as well.

Mr. Albanese should really think about his business model if he is completely dependent upon the turnover of two parking spaces in front of his store. If this were the case though, it means Mr. Albanese has been taking advantage of the City and our tax dollars to provide parking for his business so he doesn't have to. Had he opened in another location, he would have to provide parking on his own property, but instead choose to take advantage of public parking instead.

 
At 11:19 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, I'm sure he would be grateful for your advice on how he should conduct his business. His business, by the way, is furniture, and I suspect that none of his customers ride bikes up to his front door to pick up their purchases.

 
At 2:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I suspect that none of his customers ride bikes up to his front door to pick up their purchases."

no, they park their cars in the bike lane! duh...

 
At 9:57 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

The whole point of this post---and the links I provided to earlier posts---is that before 2006 there was metered parking in front of his business on Market Street, where his customers could load up their purchases. The city took away the parking to make a bike lane, and they rushed it through the process, in spite of a lot of neighborhood opposition, to get it done in time for Bike to Work Day, which was okay with Supervisors Dufty and Mirkarimi.

 
At 6:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While it's really unfortunate this guy lost business, that alone doesn't indicate if removing the meters was a good or bad move for the city overall.

Should there never be changes to anything whatsoever if one person might be hurt from it?

How much better is the situation for everyone else? How much more productive are the cyclists who can get to work easier and safer?

 
At 9:21 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Should there never be changes to anything whatsoever if one person might be hurt from it?"

I transcribed the public comments of 18 businesses in the area that opposed taking away those parking spaces in a post to this blog more than two years ago: "Pleas of Small Businesses Fall on Deaf Ears." (http://district5diary.blogspot.com/2006/05/pleas-of-small-businesses-fall-on-deaf.html)

And then there was a process issue, since the Board of Supervisors rushed this through the process to get it done in time for Bike to Work Day that year. Truly despicable.

 

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