We need cycleways that do not destroy local shops by removing parks

The Herald reports:

Small business owners across Auckland are on the warpath against plans to push out cars for cycleways and buses in local shopping centres.

In the past month, the Karangahape Road Business Association has withdrawn support for a $16 million cycleway and streetscape upgrade and the Mt Eden Village Business Association has gone ballistic over plans to extend bus stops in the village.

“Auckland Transport needs to slow down, listen more and go back to the drawing board,” Mt Eden Village Business Association chairman Steve Roper said in a letter to AT chairman Lester Levy.

The revolt has spread from the West Lynn and Westmere cycleway fiasco to Northcote Point, Mt Albert, Karangahape Rd, Mt Eden and Dominion Rd, drawing criticism from senior Auckland councillors and putting the spotlight on AT.

The transport body refused to put up anyone for an interview on the issue. …

It is unusual for AT to go to ground on a project it has fronted until now, particularly when most of the rage is directed its way over the planned cycleway and removal of parking along Karangahape Rd.

“It’s almost as if they have gone insane with this idea of cycleways and forgotten it’s thousands of little businesses like this who pay rent, pay tax, pay rates,” says Philippa Stephenson, whose Tart vegan bakery has a pop up shop in St Kevins Arcade.

Make no mistake this is not an abstract issue for these small business owners. If people can’t park near their stores, they they may go bust. Sure only 15% of customers may come by car, but a 15% drop in business can have a huge impact, especially when you have fixed costs to cover.

I’m all for cycleways, but the best cycleways should be removed from roads, not just placed on roads, knocking out car parks. Yes that may cost more, but small business owners should not be sacrificed.

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