Are new York Boulevard's bike lanes bad for business? That's the contention of Galco's Old World Grocery Owner John Nese, who told the Boulevard Sentinnel last week that "bike lanes are nice, but they're not good for business. You're not going to see anyone buying a boxes of soda pop or anything sizable on a bicycle."
The comments prompted a lengthy response from the pedestrian/cyclist-centric bloggers at Walk Eagle Rock, who took issue Nese's contention.
From Galco’s and Bike Lanes
... how can one evaluate the effects of a bike lane within mere days of its installation?
Also, Nese neglects to mention that the public requested bike racks at Galco’s and that he personally rejected the installation of free bike racks by the city. That’s right, someone requested bike racks in front of Galco’s– presumably because they shop there and arrive by bicycle.
Sure, most cyclists may not purchase “cases of soda pop”, but why does one have to buy only in bulk? A person arriving by bike (or foot, or transit) can easily pop in and buy a couple sodas and some candy, I know I have personally done this on a number of occasions.
Nese wasn't done commenting on bike lanes, though. In a post published on Galco's web-site, Nese wrote that he was not only dubious of the positive business impact of the bike lanes, he also considered them a safety risk.
From Safety on York Boulevard
... my overall issue with bikes is about safety.
I know there are safer routes for bikes, residential streets without the traffic we have on York. I wish that officials would have put the bike lane up one street away from York, say on Meridian, a street that connects four schools – Occidental, Aladma, Yorkdale and Luther Burbank. Right now it’s labeled a Bike Route. Why couldn’t that have been a bike lane?
I worry that cyclists will think that bike lane line means that they are magically safe from two-ton cars that swish by at top speeds. I also can’t tell you the number of times I see cyclists riding without helmets or not adhering to simple laws of the road – like stopping for stop lights, signaling when they want to turn. For every biker with a helmet, I see 7 others without lights, reflectors or helmets.
Walk Eagle Rock responded to Nese's commentary with a two-part blog-post, which offers a paragraph-by-paragraph critique. You can read it in full, here.
In the post's closing comments, the authors accuse Nese of embellishing information about cyclists to support the "biases he has against cyclists."
"Based on his article, we feel he is using the argument of safety to justify anti-bike measures and biases he has against cyclists. As our analysis of his article shows, he repeatedly makes generalizations about cyclists based on his personal experience as a means to argue against bicycle infrastructure."
Patch Asks: What do you think of Nese's comments? Are bike lanes on York Boulevard unsafe and bad for business? Or do you agree with the responses offered by Walk Eagle Rock?