Simon says bike lanes good for retailers. Yeah, for some ….

Pierre and Marie Curie with their bicycles.

Simon Wilson: Karangahape Rd is Auckland’s best road for bike lanes so why are retailers scared of them?

Bike lanes will bring a host of new opportunities to Karangahape Rd, but still there are retailers who don’t get it. So now we need a new “bright minds” organisation to help the mayor and Auckland Transport get good work done well.

Translation: We need some propagandist outfit to teach these uppity retailers of the errors of their ways.

I like shops. I like them so much I don’t buy things online. Laugh if you like but I enjoy browsing in a good shop and I fear for urban life – in local village centres and the middle of the city – if the shops close down.

[…]I like shopkeepers, too. I know quite a lot of them and I admire their optimism, their business smarts, their commitment to their customers, their creative flair.

So when I say I like shops, and also many shopkeepers, you can probably imagine how much it pains me to say that some shopkeepers right now are just being complete idiots.

Idiots for wanting to protect their businesses.

This paper published a grab-bag of complaints about Auckland Transport (AT) earlier this week. There was a theme, sort of, that stupid bike lanes are replacing valuable parking spots, although some of the complaints had nothing to do with cycling or parking spots, and some were prompted by preparatory work for the City Rail Link, done by CRL Ltd (CRLL) not AT.

Many of them related to Karangahape Rd. Philippa Stephenson of Tart Bakery in St Kevins Arcade complained that they can’t deliver their vegan pies from their bakery in Grey Lynn because some loading zones have been removed near the arcade. She was quoted as saying, “It’s almost as if they have gone insane with this idea of cycleways.”

But the next day she clarified that, and wrote on social media: “Tart totally, utterly, 100% supports cycleways. I would love nothing more than for Auckland to be the Copenhagen of the South Pacific… No one with a brain could object to a transport method that has so many obvious benefits.”

Okay. Maybe be a little more careful with your complaints, then.

So she’s a NIMBY. Doesn’t make her complaint any less valid. I’ve got a copy of “Logical Fallacies” if you want to have read, Simon.

In fact, Stephenson will benefit substantially from the new cycleway, and not just because it will deliver her many more customers. It will connect the bakery to the shop, enabling – how’s this for a perfect solution – a courier with a cargo bike to deliver the pies. She’ll actually be helping to create the Copenhagen of the South Pacific, right there on K Rd.

A much slower, much less efficient delivery system is supposed to be the perfect solution?

My prediction: they’re going to need much bigger bike racks at St Kevins soon, because cycling customer numbers will soar.

Yes, like cycling numbers have soared everywhere they’ve put cycle lanes /sarc.

[…]According to the Herald story, Michael Richardson of the Karangahape Rd Business Association (KBA) believes “K Rd is a progressive community that supports cycle lanes, but not if it means the loss of parking retailers depend on”.

What nonsense. Nobody expects to find a park on the street on K Rd and few people drive there to shop anyway. How does he not know that?

Longtime parking, sure. But there’s often short-term parking available.

[…]For the record, in Europe, America and in Auckland, they already know that cyclists are likely to make more visits to an area than other transport users, stay longer and over time spend more money. That isn’t always true, but it definitely is for a place like K Rd. Wide, flat, close to the city centre and with a cycle-friendly alt-cultural vibe. K Rd is the perfect place for bike lanes.

The argument is that cyclists when they spend, spend more than drivers. And that’s true if the shops are of the type that cyclists frequent like restaurants, bars, convenience stores and such. So if you’re a retailer that runs a business that road maggots frequent you, of course, have nothing to worry about. But if you aren’t then tough. Thanks, road maggots!

[…]But oh, there’s Chris Fowlie of the Hemp Store, saying “Consultation has been lip service.”

No it hasn’t. Consultation has been extensive, and most people, including most businesses, said they supported the cycle lane project. Complaining that they didn’t ask you, when what really happened is that your views were not widely supported, is not terribly honest.

If by consultation you mean being told by AT that they’re putting in bike lanes and there’s nothing you can do about it then yes, there’s been consultation.

What’s more, K Rd is still open for consultation, with drop-in clinics planned for next week.

Only because of the public backlash.

The Herald story also had retailers in Mt Eden complaining about lack of consultation, but their fear is about bigger bus stops in the village. I do feel for AT in this. What do you say to shopkeepers who object to having hundreds more potential customers hanging around outside their shops twice a day?

Seriously? So a few extra people hanging around waiting for the bus is supposed to be hundreds more potential customers?

The rest is Simon babbling on about how AT can’t sell itself to pay for its grandma’s ransom but I won’t subject you that.

In summary, retailers are wrong, AT is right, and AT just needs someone who can convince the retailers that AT is right. Never mind that it’s the retailers, the ones that don’t have cyclists as their customers, who are bearing the brunt of these cycle lanes and can see for themselves what’s happening.

– Simon Wilson, NZ Herald

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Libertarian and pragmatic anarchist. Treat everything the media says as a lie and know the narrative. Facts trump rhetoric.