Car-Free Events Benefit Local LA Businesses, New Study Finds

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In a research finding that should come as a surprise to practically nobody, a new study from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs has confirmed that car-free open streets events notably benefit local businesses, increasing sales for businesses along the route by about 10%, and by about 57% for those that participate. The new research was focused specifically on LA’s popular CicLAvia open streets event.

“Approximately 150,000 people on foot, bikes and skates experienced iconic Wilshire Boulevard as part of the CicLAvia event on June 23, 2013. Researchers at UCLA Luskin’s Complete Streets Initiative and the Luskin Center for Innovation surveyed a representative sample of brick-and-mortar businesses along the route, comparing sales revenue and foot traffic on CicLAvia Sunday and a Sunday earlier that month,” as Planetizen reports.

Image Credit: UCLA/CicLAvia
Image Credit: UCLA/CicLAvia

What the researchers found was that all of the businesses located along the car-free route experienced a notable increase in sales the day of the event (10%), but that the businesses that “engaged with CicLAvia participants such as with a vending table or music” were the real winners, experiencing an average increase in sales of about 57%.

“CicLAvia has always been about connecting people to the community in a way that isn’t possible by car. Among the most important connections we can foster is the one between participants and the businesses along the route,” stated CicLAvia Executive Director Aaron Paley. “We are pleased to see the Luskin Center study indicates that these businesses receive a notable increase in revenue on CicLAvia day.”

CicLAvia recently received funding for a further two years of events from the Wasserman Foundation.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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