Parking is a big issue when you talk about changing roads. And rightfully so; making it impossible to get somewhere for some people can be more than an inconvenience.
Putting in cycleways is often seen as adding to the pressure on parking. Some parks may need to be removed to allow room to make intersections safer. This can cause a fair amount of stress, especially to business owners.
However, the evidence suggests, removing carparks in favour of easy bike access is not only good for business, it’s great for business! And it’s also good for all road users.
In New York, streets that had kerbside cycle lanes installed saw an increase of 49% to retail sales, while improving safety by 27% for everyone. In Portland there’s a waiting list at the local Council to get ‘bike corrals’ installed in front on businesses, removing one carpark to allow 10 bikes to park, and ensuring no big white vans are obstructing your fancy shopfront. In Australia surveys found that cyclists spend on average $31 per trip for every $6 drivers spend.
If these new bike lanes mean that only one in twenty people choose to bike instead of drive, that’s one in twenty carparks, free for someone else to use. If Council does a good job on the bike lanes, perhaps, one in ten people will bike to the local shops, freeing up even more parks for people who need them most.
Bike lanes = more carparks available where you need them most, near the shops; and less where they are a danger to drivers, cyclists and pedestrians, near intersections.
Shopping area parks
We did a quick count of carparks in Island Bay shopping area. (We counted the carparks from outside the library to the angle parks just north of northernmost zebra, including both sides of Medway Street up to Derwent Street, but not any extra parking on The Parade, or in other side streets, although plenty is usually available.) We also counted the shops, some of which have their own carparks. We found 113 parks for 25 businesses. (We’re counting the supermarket here, which might be a bit generous, but the reality is, we all sometimes pop down to another shop while parked at the New World!). So, on average there’s over 4 parks per business, not counting reserved private parking (such as at the community centre or medical centre).