Businesses often worry about the impact that more cycling will have on them, particularly if it involves the removal of parking to make room for cycleways. The good news is that the evidence shows that increasing the amount of cycling is more likely to have positive effects on the local economy. Bike customers live locally, they bike locally and they are much more likely to shop locally. They shop more often, for longer and they also leave parking free for customers in cars!
The New Zealand Transport Agency's research report 530 found that sustainable transport users account for 40% of the total spend in shopping areas and account for 37% of all shoppers. The data indicates that pedestrians and cyclists contribute a higher economic spend proportionately to the modal share and are important to the economic viability of local shopping areas. The study also identified that retailers generally overestimate the importance of on-street parking outside shops. Shoppers value high-quality pedestrian and urban design features in shopping areas more than they value parking and those who drive are willing to walk to the shopping precinct from other locally available parking areas. You can read many more examples of how bikes are good for business here.
In the attached document we've analysed exactly how parking outside the 53 businesses on The Parade will be affected by the cycleway. Of the 53 businesses on The Parade 37 (70%) are unaffected and 16 (30%) will have some changes. Most of the changes are relatively minor, e.g. the loss of one or two carparks directly outside a business, and in most cases there is still lots of parking nearby. Overall, only 28 out of 267 carparks on The Parade are being removed to make room for the cycleway and there is some new parking being added in side streets, as discussed here.
Of course, all businesses will be affected to some degree during the construction phase. As a community it would be great if we could make a particular effort to support our local businesses both during and after the implementation. If you have any ideas about how to do this let us know via the comments.
One thing we would like to do is start promoting Island Bay's bike-friendly businesses via this website and the Facebook page. A bike-friendly business supports the cycleway and welcomes customers on bikes. If you know a bike-friendly business in Island Bay please let us know (or ask them to get in touch) so that we can let the rest of Island Bay know!
Update: a group of residents who support the cycleway have now written to every business on The Parade to make sure they have the information above and promising to support them both during and after construction of the cycleway.