The newest front in the green revolution is actually a win-win

By the looks of things, it appears as if the green revolution is spreading across South Florida, as well as the rest of the country, in the form of miles and miles of green lanes dedicated to bicycling. As an increasing number of cities redesign streets to include wider sidewalks and increased tree canopies, bike lanes are often used as a means of improving road safety, slowing down traffic, helping the environment, and improving overall community health.

There is, though, a casualty: street parking. For landlords and business owners, this can be a critical issue as they envision a loss of profits from bike lanes that are seldom used to full capacity. Preliminary studies, however, are indicating the opposite is true.

The battle for street space

When considering a street redesign, the argument often comes down to space. On the one hand, there is traffic congestion slowing down many primary and secondary roads throughout the region. In many cases, adding a bike lane means the elimination of a driving lane—and when many roads are already moving at a snail’s pace, is it even possible to move any slower?

At the same time, there is a growing call in many urban and dense suburban areas—where space is quite limited—for pedestrian-friendly thoroughfares. This often requires wider sidewalks to invite strolling. It also calls for slower traffic so pedestrians can safely cross, and in South Florida, hit-and-run accidents and casualties have become all too common.

Bike lanes, then, have become a go-to solution. Not only do they meet the demands of a more environmentally conscious population and the increase of citywide bike-sharing initiatives, but they also appear to be efficient at forcing drivers to slow down.

The concerns among business owners and landlords

As nice as that all seems, though, it does little to quell the anxiety of landlords and business owners. But there are ways to not only meet the challenges of change but to do so profitably:

  • Without a doubt, parking concerns are valid ones, but it’s also important to realize that businesses with street parking have always had parking issues. It’s actually quite rare for a customer to be able to park immediately in front of a specific store. Very often, he or she has to walk some distance to the store after parking—and this distance is often less than the distance in a parking lot to the front door of a shopping mall. In addition, the street redesign will encourage pedestrians to linger, and the walk from the car to store will increase foot traffic to other businesses along the street. And that’s a great thing.
  • Businesses can assist customers through the transition, using signage and social media to direct customers to nearby parking options. In addition, some business owners embracing the idea have discovered unique ways to reach out to new customers, including sales incentives for people who walked or biked to the store and placing bike racks on the new, wider sidewalk. Some developers are even redesigning building spaces to include biking amenities, such as bike parking and bike repair items.
  • Ultimately, for business owners and landlords, it comes down to the bottom line. While some cities experienced initial growing pains during the transition to bike/pedestrian-friendly streets, they have realized a profitable upswing as the population has learned to adapt to a new way of living, working, shopping, and playing.

    When New York City added bike lanes to two major streets, retailers saw a 50% increase in sales receipts. Seattle and San Francisco had similar results. Similarly, in one Memphis neighborhood, locals took it upon themselves to paint their own bike lanes. Within six months, commercial rents in the area doubled and all storefronts were full.

Bike lanes and SoFlo’s CRE market

If the professionals at Morris Southeast Group have learned anything over the years, it’s that CRE is a fluid creature. Changes come, changes go—and through it all, our team has successfully helped investors to not only meet the challenges but leverage them, as well. When it comes to bike lanes, it’s an idea whose time has come. Even pedestrian-heavy Wynwood is considering a redo that would include a 2.5-mile network of connected bike lanes.

To learn more about adjusting your property to a bike lane, property investment opportunities, and/or our other services, call Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at


Tags: , , , , , , , ,