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Published in Indaily of 23-Nov-2011 on page 1.

City carparks debunked as retailer myth

Des Ryan


Adelaide has too many car parks for the financial good of retailers if only they realised it, a visiting transport expert says.

UK consultant Rodney Tilley says the view that car parking is absolutely necessary for the economic survival of retail shops is a myth.

Dr Tilley, an advocate of walking as a mode of transport, says that reducing the amount of car parking may actually produce greater economic benefits.

Of course if you put a carpark outside a shop it will then bring some economic benefit – it would be pretty amazing if it didn’t,” he told Indaily.

But the presence of that car in the street and its movement through the streets may actually contribute to damaging the economic vitality of the street by a greater amount than the dollar expenditure it brings.

In other words, streets that have relatively little traffic volume are less polluted, less noisy and are much more comfortable spaces for locals to come and spend time and money.

Reducing that car traffic may actually disproportionately increase the number of people coming by foot and they in turn will spend much more money.”

Tilley was in Adelaide yesterday for the launch of a Heart Foundation SA discussion paper Good for Busine$$, which argues a well-designed street that promotes walking and cycling is good for the local economy.

Tilley heads Walk21, a UK-based group that champions the development of healthy, sustainable and efficient communities where people choose to walk.

He was commissioned by the Heart Foundation – for an undisclosed sum – to pull together the latest research from overseas on the benefits of walking and cycling rather than driving.

He also spent time yesterday in meetings with local government, transport planners, trader groups and developers.

Good for Busine$$ states that improvements in street design can add an average of up to 4.9 per cent to rental values of shops and houses located on the street.

Tilley said the report reaffirmed a basic message.

It sounds a fairly obvious statement that if you increase walkability you increase footfall; and if you increase footfall you increase dollar expenditure.

But a lot of people seem to have lost sight of that; they seem to have somehow got hold of the idea that cars do the shopping and people don’t.”

He was not advocating an increase in the number of pedestrian malls but a balance in how existing streets were used.

At the moment, the balance was titled too much in favour of car parking and there was inadequate space for people to just walk up and down a street.

What people want to do in streets is to sit, to talk, to people-watch, to window shop, to dwell and to linger in public space. That’s what makes places like that appealing.

If you take up all of the space with car parking, there’s not enough space for people to sit down and appreciate where they are and they won’t linger. We know that if they don’t linger they won’t spend.”

Tilley said research showed that people who walked or cycled to their local shopping centre gave retailers a financial boost.

They probably spend less per visit because they are not able to carry large volumes home but they also visit more often.

So the cumulative spend of people on foot and by bike over the course of, say, a week or a month is actually greater in many cases than the spend of people in cars.

He said a city like Adelaide had many main streets that were once used as local shopping neighbourhoods, which had since been taken over by vehicles.

The infrastructure was still there, he said, and it was a matter of reclaiming the streets to make them more “cycling and walking friendly” – adding bike lanes; widening footpaths; restricting parking; greening the areas and adding public transport.

Tilley believed that even with the growth of online shopping and its impact on main street retail, people would still come together in shopping precincts.

I am not really convinced that online shopping will necessarily substitute for wanting to be in public spaces and wanting to spend some time window shopping and sitting and watching the world go by, which is after all what we really like to do in cities.

We live in cities because we want to be near other people.

It doesn’t make a lot of sense to lock yourself up with a computer and shop online and not go out. You may well simply be saving time [shopping] to spend in public space in a different kind of way.”

The Heart Foundation is calling on trader associations to survey their customers, to find out how they travel to their main street and how they would like to travel.

Health Foundation SA chief executive Amanda Rischbieth said Good for Busine$$ suggested that customers saw things differently to the traders.

Traditionally retailers have pursued more car access and parking spaces, and resisted measures to promote walking and cycling, as they have been under the impression that this is what shoppers demanded.

This discussion paper clearly suggests it otherwise.”

The Heart Foundation will continue working with government and councils to introduce a range of measures needed to get more South Australians to walk and cycle more often.”

These include:

  • Creating a culture where walking is normal and easy.

  • Ensuring all people have access to walking infrastructure, like footpaths and walking trails. 

  • Prioritising walking when new communities or new roads are being built, or old ones redeveloped.

  • Giving pedestrians priority at traffic lights.

  • Reducing speed limits.

  • Investing in public transport as every trip is two walking trips.

  • Providing convenient destinations for people to walk to in communities.

  • Supporting walking groups for people to join, enjoy and belong.

A negative cycling story from Adelaide.

Right cross linked to rising injury toll
Posted on Bicycle Network Victoria on Thursday 7-Mar-2013.

The rising toll of serious injuries to bike riders has been linked to driver behaviour at intersections, especially where right-turning drivers fail to give way to oncoming bikes.
In a study of 61 admissions to Royal Adelaide Hospital over three years from 2008 to 2010, 40 per cent of the crashes involved right turning cars failing to give way to oncoming cyclists.
The study suggests that many drivers, especially those who are not also bike riders, have a poor appreciation of the approach speed of bicycles, and thus miscalculate their turns.
The research was undertaken by VL Lindsay at the Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR), University of Adelaide.
"Injured cyclist profile – an in-depth study of a sample of cyclists injured in road crashes in South Australia" can be downloaded here.
As well as a high incidence of right cross crashes, the study found a significant proportion of the serious injury crashes involved cars failing to give way to the right, and of turning left across the path of a bike rider travelling straight ahead.
The study reported that in South Australia bike crashes resulting in an hospital admission increased from 12 percent of all traffic crash admissions to 17.4 percent over a ten year period.
Cyclists involved in crashes were generally found to be experienced road users who undertook road cycling activities on a regular basis.
The study reports: "On average, cyclists self reported that their road cycling exposure involved close to 10,000 kilometres per annum. Male cyclists between the ages of 36 and 55 years were found to be the group most frequently involved in crashes involving a motorised vehicle.
"Vehicle drivers undertaking a turning manoeuvre posed the biggest threat to cyclists who were generally travelling straight on a carriageway. Those drivers undertaking a right turn manoeuvre were found to pose the greatest threat, particularly those turning across multiple traffic lanes and in peak hour traffic conditions. These crashes were more likely to involve young drivers.
"The most serious injuries incurred by cyclists were fractures, followed by those who sustained internal organ injuries. Close to a third of cyclists experienced a loss of consciousness following the crash.
"Those cyclists who struck the side of a vehicle were generally found to sustain more serious injuries when compared with other crash types and resulted in hospitalisation for longer periods.
Two thirds of the cyclists in the study were travelling on road bikes. Length of ownership averaged three years. Close to half of the cyclists were understood to own two or more bicycles. Three of the bikes in the study cost in the vicinity of $15,000 to $18,000.

A positive cycling story from Melbourne.

Record number of females riding to work (in Melbourne where good infrastructure)
Posted on Bicycle Network Victoria on Tuesday Tuesday 7-Mar-2013.

There has been a phenomenal increase in the number of females riding to work in Melbourne.
City bound routes counted in this morning’s Super Tuesday Bike Count showed that females comprised over 50 per cent of riders at a number of intersections in the inner north, where the City of Yarra has invested consistently in improving bike infrastructure.
In Swanston Street in the CBD females comprised 32 per cent of riders.
This is an increase of 22 percent since the Copenhagen style lands were added to Swanston Street by the City of Melbourne, clearly showing that women will flock to bike commuting when the routes are made bike-friendly.
(Females are considered the ‘indicator species’ of bike network quality.)
Overall the count showed staggering increases in the number of bikes coming into the city in the morning peak.
At the Swanston / La Trobe intersection total bikes over the two hour period was 1235, up 62 per cent over the count in 2012.
At the southern end of Swanston Street, at the Flinders Street intersection, 1864 bikes were counted for all directions in the two hour period, an increase of 37 per cent over last year.
On the Main Yarra Trail at Swan Street a total of 899 bikers were on the south side of the river (38% up) and 1093 were on the north side path (22% up) over the 2 hour period.
On the Footscray Road bike path near the Costco store a total of 1450 riders were counted during the peak period, up 33 per cent on the year prior.

Another positive cycling story from Melbourne.

Bikes a priority in new safety plan
Posted on Bicycle Network Victoria on Thursday 7-Mar-2013.

Victoria's new Road Safety Strategy has given a high priority to cutting cycling injuries, pledging a new funding program to improve troublespots.
The strategy undertakes to deliver a new grants program for local government to provide safer walking and cycling infrastructure.
It also commits the government to improve bike rider safety by developing a new pedestrian/ cyclist ‘black area’ program
The other key strategy is the improvement the safety of on and off road cycling paths, reduced vehicle speeds around cyclists and road safely through education and enforcement.
The strategy argues that improved infrastructure and safer vehicle speeds will reduce risk and support the uptake of sustainable travel modes.
"Cyclists crash most frequently at intersections, when leaving a path or driveway to enter a road or when a car door is opened in their path," the document says.
"Wearing a bicycle helmet reduces the risk of a cyclist incurring a head injury in the event of a crash by up to 60 per cent."
It also reports that public opinion surveys supported higher penalties including fines the same as drivers, more bike lanes and paths and education for drivers.
(The public is generally unaware that fines for bike riders are already high in Victoria, one of the reasons why rider behaviour and rider risk management is markedly better here than in other states.)
The strategy was accompanied by a Road Safety Action Plan.
It says that a cyclist hit by a vehicle travelling at 50 km/h is four times more likely to be killed or seriously injured than if hit at 40 km/h.
"Experts estimate that the number of pedestrians and cyclist injuries in Melbourne’s strip shopping centres that have introduced a 40 km/h speed zone has reduced by nearly 17 per cent," the Action Plan says.
"The proportion of crashes involving cyclists is currently significantly higher at roundabouts than elsewhere. In Victoria cyclists are involved in nine per cent of fatal and serious injury crashes, while at roundabouts 25 per cent of fatal and serious injury crashes involve cyclists.
Other actions include:
Modify the design and function of roundabouts to give greater safety to cyclists.
Develop guidelines to enable greater use of 40 km/h zones where and when the risks of pedestrian or cyclist crashes are high.
Develop a new ‘black area’ program that will provide safer infrastructure where clusters of pedestrian and cyclist crashes occur.
Increase awareness of the vulnerability of cyclists and encourage safer and more considerate road sharing among drivers and cyclists.
Increase enforcement of unsafe behaviour that endangers cyclists and continually enforce cyclist compliance with all road rules, especially obeying traffic signals and helmet wearing.
Review road rules and legislation to further protect cyclist safety and ensure cyclists do not put others at risk.

A positive cycling story.

Projects must consider walkers: govt
Published in Indaily of Thursday 14-Mar-2013 on page 4.

Canberra: Cycling, walking and access to public transport will have to be considered in major infrastructure projects that want to get federal funding, Transport Minister Anthony Albanese says.
The minister told the Bus Industry Confederation dinner on Wednesday that active forms of transport such as walking, cycling and catching public transport were now becoming mainstream – although the car still dominates.
This meant they should be provided for in future infrastructure programs.
Albanese said the provision of safe and active travel options would have to be built into the design of any projects that got federal funding under the next tranche of the Commonwealth’s nation building program.
"This will mean that federally funded urban transport infrastructure projects must consider whether provision has been made for appropriate cycling and walking paths," he told the dinner.
“When we build a bridge we shouldn’t consider it only as a carriageway for car traffic, we should also ensure that it caters for walkers and cyclers."
That would avoid the hefty cost of retrofitting infrastructure in the future.
The policy of taking active transport needs into consideration during project planning is known as positive provision.
Cycling Promotion Fund spokesman Stephen Hodge said this was the first time leadership had been shown at a national level on positive provision.
"There is such strong evidence now for the benefits of putting in these relatively cheap and easy to install bits of infrastructure when you’re doing big projects, that there was some leadership needed," he told AAP.
His group is a member of the Moving People 2030 Taskforce, whose report on transport in Australia was formally launched at the dinner.
The taskforce is made up of a range of transport, planning and health groups.
It said congestion in Australia’s major cities would cost the country $20 billion by 2020.
The taskforce recommended a range of solutions governments should look at including congestion charges and aiming for a third of all passenger trips in 2030 to happen via public transport, walking or riding.

Police ‘dooring’ training urged
Published by Bicycle Network on 15-Oct-2012

Victoria police have been urged to conduct training for police members regarding enforcement of the offence of ‘car dooring’, particularly those deployed in inner Melbourne municipalities with high bike riding activity.
The recommendation appears in the final report of the Inquiry into the "Road Safety Amendment (Car Doors) Bill 2012" – the 'dooring' inquiry conducted by the Economy and Infrastructure Legislation Committee of Victoria's Legislative Council.
The Inquiry, spurred by the tragic death of James Cross in 2010, examined the case for increased penalties and greater enforcement of the relevant laws.
The Committee expressed concern that in the case of Mr James Cross a potential charge of ‘opening a vehicle door to the danger of another’ was not pursued.
The Committee stated that all ‘car dooring’ incidents reported to police should be fully investigated and appropriate action be taken, regardless of whether it results in a collision.
The Committee also supports the view (stated by Victoria Police) that if a collision resulted, at minimum an infringement notice should be issued.


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