Saturday, November 01, 2008

Quantifying the Economic Impact of Bicycling In Philadelphia

Bicycling with it's recreational stigma has a hard time getting it's fair share of attention, the economic impacts seem small when compared to things like bridge tolls and gasoline taxes, yet those revenue sources go to the enormous costs of maintaining a system being beaten down by 1/2-to 40 ton vehicles. Bicycles in the words of Portland Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinator Roger Geller are a "Cheap Date". Portland's economic impact of the bicycle industry is in the neighborhood of $63 Million.

So what is the economic impact of bicycling and the bicycle industry? Here is how Portland divided up the pie, listed underneath are our local qualifying businesses

Tours, Rides, Races, and Events
Commerce Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship
The American Cancer Society Ride
Tour of PA
Bike Philly
Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby

Professional Services
Messengers (Time Cycle and A1, Heaven Sent and others)
Delivery Services - Pedal Co-Op
Advocacy and Community Outreach -BCGP, Neighborhood Bike Works and non-profits with trail or transportation projects (Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Schuylkill River Development Corp. Delaware River City Corporation).
Pedicabs - Chariots of Philly
Consultants, Planners, Engineers, Construction - Campbell Thomas, Kise Straw Kolodner, Wallace Roberts and Todd, Pennoni and Associates etc. Various paving and construction contractors.

Manufacturing and Distribution
Bicycle Distributors and Manufacturers - ASI
Frame Builders - Philly Cargo Cycles and Bilenky
Bicycle Accessories - R.E. Load Bags
Electric Assist - Kronosport

Bike Shops - 30+ on Google Maps
Bicycle Rental - Philadelphia Bicycle Tours, Lloyd Hall Bike Shack
Restaurant delivery - many in Center City and Lee's Hoagies in University City

Did we miss anyone? And what about our suburban economic engines such Sweetskinz (Bala Cynwyd), Steve Spindler Cartography (Jenkintown), Downtube Bicycles (Bensalem) and the many nearby bike shops.

The exact impact would take a full study to find out the final number but I think there is no doubt that bicycling in the region provides millions of dollars.


Jerimas said...

While I believe cycling, as a form of transportation, has gone overlooked by many in the past few years, I also believe that there have been significant improvements for bicycle facilities throughout the city and region. The completion of a large section of the schuylkill river trail has opened new access points for cyclist and the trail has seen a lot of use over the past couple of years. I've observed a lot of people entering and exiting the trail during the morning peak commuting hours making me think that more people are making the commute in from Manayunk and further. There's also on-going work on the East Coast Greenway which will travel through the heart of Philadelphia once completed. Although still in conceptual planning and feasibility stages of development, we'll see its inception gradually being implemented over the next decade. While it would be nice to see more significant changes implemented in a more timely manner, we all need to recognize that we live in an old city with limited roadway widths, right-of-way widths and many transportation uses vying for the same space. The balance of those facilities will and is based on use... as use of bicycles increases, we'll see more improved facilities provided. There-in lies some of the difficulty... getting people to hop on their bicycles and use the roads as-is until more improved facilities are constructed. I'm optimistic that we're on the right path and it makes me happy every time I hop on my cycle and see more people out there with me.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that the bcgp blog has never mentioned that the east south street refurb has resulted in practically nothing to lock your bike to?
Or progress plaza?
Or north second street?

New developments or renovations with zero consideration for bike parking seem to be accelerating, I don't even know what to do.

There seem to me, to be more cyclists than ever in this city. How is it that plans like those for south street, where they've removed all the parking meters, get through review without an uproar?

Anonymous said...

Good work! I complain and the next day zillions of red U's appear on south street.

But seriously, isn't it normal to install new sidewalk fixtures and new sidewalks at the same time? The month or so delay had me confused.

Anonymous said...

Thank u r information