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December 2011
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A measure of bicycling impact on your community

It pays to mind media attention and business generation when measuring bicycling impact on your community.

How do you measure the impact (and benefits) of becoming a bicycle friendly community?

You can count the number of people riding on a regular basis, you can look at the number of kids who ride their bikes to school, you can look at the growth of bike related businesses  and the impact on your local business economy, you can do surveys.

And of course you can see what the press is saying about your city.

The January 2012 issue of Sunset Magazine,  Western America’s largest-circulation regional magazine (more than 1 million subscribers), highlighted Long Beach’s East Village and touted it as a “bike to” destination.”Sunset Article – bike in LB003

“Long Beach is quickly becoming one of the most bike-friendly cities in the States.  Get in on the Action at the Bikestation.

“How to experience it (referring to the Long Beach’s East Village Art District): On foot or, even better, by bike.  SoCal’s first separated bike lanes run down Broadway and Third Street; on weekly Bike Saturdays (, two wheeled travelers get discounts at participating shops and eateries.”

The article goes on to talk about the “2nd Saturday artwalk” and a sampling of the great “shops and eateries.”  In total the article talks about not only the overall district but highlights the Bikestation as well as eight additional businesses.

What is the value of this type of coverage?

First…lets take a look a the audience for this type of article. According to Sunset’s website they are looking for  “take-action” travel ideas within our coverage area that will appeal to a large, general interest audience (70 percent women) that is time challenged, appreciates value…”  Okay…they want to publish things that will give a their very large audience base ideas on where to go in their local area that they may not have known about or previously thought about going to. Hummm….sounds like a potentially great marketing and outreach opportunity.

What is the value of this type of attention that is being fostered by your bike program?  One way to think about it is…could I get this same type of attention through advertising?  What if  Long Beach and the East Village had run an ad in Sunset versus having the media story?

There have been numerous studies that assess the value of advertising dollars versus media coverage.  They all come to the conclusion that the value to the business  or the community is larger for media coverage than for paid advertising.  As you dig though the literature you will see values ranging from 1.5 to 6, in other words…if an ad cost you $100 the value of the equivalent media coverage would be somewhere between $150 and $600.

So what would a two page 4 color ad cost you in the Southern California edition of Sunset?  According to the Sunset website the cost would be just over $100,000.

So what is the value of this type of article to Long Beach?  With Long Beach being located only 20 miles from downtown LA and less than 100 miles from San Diego the potential audience is huge.

However, this type of coverage in a large circulation magazine would not be affordable for the East Village District.  But in significant part because of the unique twist provided by the bike program, the bike infrastructure and the Bike Saturday’s program…the business district and the individual businesses are getting the equivalent benefit of a well over a hundred thousand dollars of advertizing in one of the most widely read publications in Southern California.

Not a bad benefit from a bike program….


Pingback from Today’s Headlines | Streetsblog Los Angeles
Time December 19, 2011 at 4:43 pm

[...] Long Beach’s East Village Bike Friendly Business District as Must Visit Destination (Via Bikeable Communities) More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill Email Share /* [...]

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