Cycling is good for local business and Mary Portas was wrong

Newcycling, the Newcastle Cycling Campaign has devised an info sheet to inform about the importance of walking and cycling in relation to the survival of local high streets. The info sheet is for everyone, but it is targetted at ill-informed retailers, taxi companies.

It is important to get the right and relevant information out to Newcastle. Exciting plans for pro-people environments are afoot for Gosforth High Street, Acorn Road and Central Station. There is a long-held believe however, by retailers and taxi companies, that car restraint is bad for business. Research shows this not to be true. This means retailers, in particular proclaiming their business entirely depends on customer car parking right outside their shops, clamour for something quite counterproductive to their business.

Newcycling has now published an information sheet to tell the full story of the High Street revival and to make the debate relevant locally. Mary Portas was quite wrong touting free car parking as a cure. It’s an ill. Car-dominated environments deter people from going. Once high street space is given back to people, they are shown to be thriving again. Northumberland Street is the case in point. The info sheet contains links to studies and research material that categorically state that car use is losing the local economy money, and whilst cycling shoppers spending less per trip, they spend more in total and are more loyal customers to their local shops.

Katja Leyendecker, chair of Newcycling says “Loyal customers should be a ring in shop keepers ears. We have to relook at our views and change priorities to get the balance right between car and people. People don’t go somewhere for its great driving ambience. No, they go somewhere to have a good time, meet friends, walk about and enjoy the space and shops. Newcastle city centre and local shopping districts like Jesmond’s Acorn Road, Gosforth’s High Street and Heaton / Walker’s Shields Road, all have to be looked at in a different light and cycleways much improved to these locations to enable the loyal customer to attend.”

“We carried out research into shopping behaviour on Acorn Road – where we found that walking and cycling share of spend is 67% and therefore far outweighs car travel related spending. Yet when looking at allocated space, we see the inverse is true. Why do we give so much space to something that contributes so little locally?”

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Info sheet
Acorn Road