One of the most common arguments against eliminating parking from downtown areas is that it’ll affect business. The people behind those complaints are dead right: There will be an impact on business—only it’s the opposite of the one they have in mind.
Removing cars from downtown streets actually increases trade by attracting pedestrians and cyclists, and a new study of Queen Street West in the Parkdale neighborhood of Toronto, Ontario, Canada has the numbers to prove it.
The report, published at the end of 2016, shows that most business owners overestimated how many of their customers arrived by car. They guessed is was 25%, but the research showed that it was only 4%.
Not only that, but the visitors themselves overwhelmingly preferred widened bike lanes or sidewalks, even at the expense of parking spaces.
Photo of Ghent, Belgium shopping street by Storm Cunningham.