Businesses blame King Street bike lane on drop in sales

Businesses blame King Street bike lane on drop in sales

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Dang and Jan Sangthong blame the King Street bicycle lane for cutting their sales this year.

Profits are down "maybe 20 percent or 30 percent," said Dang Sangthong, owner of Pae Thai restaurant.

The protected lane moved parking farther from the sidewalk and blocked the view of their driveway. Confused customers pass them by. Sangthong said to save money he now opens only four days instead of six.

"When we cut to four days we cut everything, like labor, like utilities," he said.

Sangthong's isn't the only business that's seen a drop in customers since the bike lane went in.

Gussie Schubert said her business, Needlepoint Etc., has also lost money.

"My guess, it will be down, 10 percent or 15 percent. But 10 percent or 15 percent for a little guy is tough," she said.

City Transportation Director Michael Formby said he's open to looking for solutions to help businesses affected by the bike lane. He wants to hear from business owners who have seen a decrease in sales.

"Maybe we can re-engineer the parking or the asphalt berms in front of their business so that people know where to turn," he said. "I don't want anybody to think that there's not an opportunity to contact the city. We can work on a solution."

The bike lane is one year into a two-year pilot project. Supporters believe more bicyclists have spent money at businesses along the track since the bike path opened, and spending will increase when the bicycle grid is completed.

"If we just look at the high-rises popping up everywhere, I think eventually there's going to be a lot more cyclists out there," said Ryan Takayesu, of McCully Bike Shop.

To help guide customers to her parking, Schubert put directions on her social media pages.

"You show a picture. You say look for this, this is what you need to do. If you have any questions, call me before you come," she said.

The Sangthong's Thai restaurant is 20 years old. This is one of their toughest years.

"Before, they didn't make bicycle lane it was better," Jan Sangthong said.

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