Parking for drivers to access shops and business has always been an ‘issue’ in Whitchurch.
Recent proposals to introduce charging at the car parks have become a hot potato as it is claimed it would affect trade for local businesses.
This raises an interesting question over the removal of the new cycle parking from the town centre, led mainly by a small number of businesses.
So what exactly is best for trade?
The Department for Transport has published a research document on this subject – the ‘Value of Cycling’ in conjunction with Birmingham University.
Key Headline findings include a section on ‘Local Economic Benefits’.
This section includes:
- Cyclists visit local shops more regularly, spending more than users of most other modes of transport;
- Per square metre, cycle parking delivers 5 times higher retail spend than the same area of car parking;
- A compact town optimised for walking and cycling can have a “retail density” (spend per square metre) 2.5 times higher than a typical urban centre.
Whitchurch needs to embrace this concept to increase its prosperity.
Importantly the Department for Transport document also includes the following:
“…reports show adding facilities such as bicycle racks and bicycle lanes can actually increase economic activity, and also help create a buffer from moving traffic that aids both pedestrian and bicyclist activity.”
Can a lively vibrancy and economic buzz in Whitchurch town centre be created?
When the ‘new’ racks are hopefully relocated will this concept be embraced?