A meta-analysis of 23 individual studies on economic behaviours of cyclists + pedestrians v cars.
Making streets less car oriented isn’t bad for business. Evidence shows quite the contrary, according to new recent meta-study on the economic impacts on local businesses of investments in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. The study, carried out by Jamey MB Volker and Susan Handy and published on tandfonline.com, reviewed analayis from 23 individual studies relating to the economic behaviours of cyclists and pedestrians versus motorised vehicles. It shows that better active travel facilities means higher or equal consumer spending at retail, food and local businesses.
Navan has over 3,600 car parking spaces. This includes 1,500 spaces in Navan Shopping Centre. Plans to revitalise Navan Town Centre are well underway, with the ‘Navan 2030’ plan having seen work completed on Railway Street and Bridge Street. However, with the exception of Old Cornmarket, which has limited vehicular access at present, there are no plans for pedestrianisation. There seems to be a reluctance in Irish towns to change the layout of our streets, simply because they’ve always been that way. Yet extensive research tells us that a loss of parking does not equal a loss of business.
Change can be frightening, so local businesses sometimes fear that restricting car parking or building cycle lanes will damage business. In our recent Navan 2021 proposal, we contacted lots of local businesses about improving our streets. While the large majority reacted favourably, there were some who saw the potential loss of car parking (as visualised in image above) as a bad thing. But if anything, the opposite is true. Evidence shows that:
- Improving town centres and streets for pedestrians and cyclists can increase retail sales by up to 30%
- Retail turnover in pedestrianised areas generally outperforms non-pedestrianised areas.
- Retailers typically overestimate how many of their customers travel by car by a factor of 100%.
- Shop vacancy rates are five times higher on streets with high levels of traffic.
Overall, the results of the study show a higher or equal consumer spend of cyclists and pedestrians v cars
We believe areas such as Trimgate Street, Market Square and Watergate Street would greatly benefit from being fully pedestrianised. You could even make a strong case for the entire town centre area of Navan to be pedestrianised, with the exception of vehicular access to car parks such as Navan Shopping Centre and Fair Green, as well as special delivery hours. Not only would it greatly help local businesses at this time, but it would also make Navan Town Centre a great place to visit. Pedestrianisation can be good for everyone!
People – and businesses – are loving the recently pedestrianised Princes Street in Cork. It’s been so successful that the local area group, Princes Street Cork, has been nominated for an award in the Cork Business of the Year Awards. Cork City Council has since announced a further 17 streets are to be fully pedestrianised. Another success story is Ennis, a town which shares many similarities to Navan. Ennis Town Centre was fully pedestrianised last summer under Covid mobility plans and has been a great success, despite some local business owners objecting. During this time, Ennis has fully adopted a ‘town centre first‘ approach, and Ennis Municipal District has strongly backed the measures. Other towns and areas like Tralee, Dungarvan, Galway, Kildare Town, Kinsale, Bandon, Malahide, Blackrock, Dublin City centre, and even Drogheda have embraced pedestrianisation. It’s long past time Navan did too.