It does bug me when the Press produces yet another article on the bad money that is being spent on cycleways. Then this is followed up by another rant from Mike Yardley about them. It’s all so predictable. And boringly out of date.
I saved this article up before I left for holidays https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/124722778/controversial-301m-cycleway-project-provides-immense-benefits-but-hurts-businesses?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter. I didn’t have the data on cycle movements to refute this article so I had to wait for my return.
The part of the article which stuck in my throat was this:
Paul Garven, who has operated Ma Baker at Edgeware Village for more than eight years, says his turnover dropped $2500 a week when the cycleway was being built along Colombo St and his business has never fully recovered.
Turnover is still about $1500 down each week. “People just don’t want to come into the area.”
He says the notion that cyclists will stop and shop has not come to fruition. “All we see are cyclists in the morning going to work and in the evening coming back home. They don’t stop.”
He cannot understand why the council is so intent on building expensive cycleways when for a fraction of a cost they could chuck some green paint on the road and be done with it.
“I can’t understand why they are wasting such a lot of money ruining businesses, taking away parks from residential areas. That money could be spent on better things. It’s such a waste of money.
“Lets have cycleways, but there is a more cost-effective way of doing it.”
This is my neighbourhood. This Edgeware shopping area is thriving. The car park is always full. Right next door to Ma Baker is a shop selling vegetables and a growing supply of interesting food which is thriving. It gets busier every time I visit. Why didn’t the reporter pop into other shops and ask them how they were coping? The butchers shop next door is humming, as is the pub on the other side.
I understand the crisis to a business that road improvements can cause. However, the question in my mind is this shop producing the sort of product which people are not requiring now? Maybe it’s time to visit his business model. Maybe instead of white anting the cycleways he should work on methods of attracting cycling customers.
I travel up this Colombo Street cycleway every few days. I use it as it makes the trip into town and into other suburbs easier. I often stop to shop when I travel North toward my home.
Keep it up cycle planners. Assess whether or not the critics have a useful suggestion to make or whether they are just resisting necessary change. Extend the network and even more people will hop on their cycles. Here’s what they have to cycle on in Amsterdam: