In the midst of the Tour Down Under, with the Gourmet Gala street party tonight, Bupa Community Challenge and TDU Stage Start on King William Road tomorrow, it seems fitting that I announce my first 2014 Local Government election pledge because it is a pledge about cycling, bikes and business. If re-elected, I will seek the Council’s support to have a bicycle rack installed within 100 meters of every business on our mainstreets.
There are benefits to businesses and benefits to the ever increasing number of resident cyclists.
Unley is ideal for cycling and across our council we are seeing an uptake in cycling at a wonderful pace. A bike rack within 100 meters of every business down our mainstreets will encourage and enable people to conveniently visit our shopping precincts assisting the businesses and those who want to conveniently cycle to the shops.
Just today I needed to go to the Hyde Park Medical Centre to have some blood taken for tests. There was no nearby safe place to leave my bike. It was inconvenient. I wouldn’t ride back to the Hyde Park Medical Clinic but would instead go to the Unley Medical Clinic which has a bike rack. It is not the Hyde Park Medical Clinic’s fault. The installation of Bike Racks is a council issue. Their medical clinic is at a disadvantage. This scenario is played out around Unley with some businesses conveniently nearby to a bike rack whilst others are not.
For the stereotypical gathering for a cup of coffee on the weekend or a quick stop in the morning for a takeway on the way to work. I for one will plan my route and think about where I will go to get my essentials based on the convenience of it. A good example is Sunday Morning at Cibo on King William Road. For any of you that has been there, you will know Cibo is the ‘gathering place’ for cyclists due to the presence of bike racks installed. Of course, businesses will have to be good enough in service and quality to be able to attract a crowd, otherwise having 10 bike racks will not help at all!
We have seen many cafes opening up next to bus stops and tram stops such as Bar 9 and Tram Stop 4. Instead of businesses trying to position themselves in the ‘ideal’ location, which would incur higher rents and therefore increasing the selling price which is put onto consumers, why not turn our locations into ideal places by directing more traffic onto the main streets?
I have been cycling for a few months now and have realised that many people like myself have started using the bicycle as a very convenient mean of transportation, at times even more convenient than cars! If we can provide the right facilities to residents, not only will the people living in Unley benefit from convenience but also from security and peace of mind.
This is about increasing convenience for consumers. Whatever competitive advantage our strip shopping streets can have over The Parade, Jetty Road, Rundle Street or even Prospect Road is a bonus. This is not an initiative that will claim to dramatically increase consumer spending, but it will improve the shopping experience by meeting the needs of those whose consumer habits include the use of the humble bike.
Almost all of Unley is within 10km of the CBD and with a high proportion of our residents working 10km of where they work cycling is an ever more attractive mode of transport. Medical research also shows those who ride to work are physically 10 years healthier.
This initiative does not claim to radically reduce the number of cars that will park on the street, but its marginal impact will help.
This initiative will not radically improve the health of our community but it will meet the ever increasing demands on our changing transport habits and encourage people to ride around more with the increasing convenience being put in place.
The estimated cost of this would be $15,000 per year over four years. Mainstreet Trader Associations will be front and center in future discussions about liaising with those businesses under their jurisdiction to ensure a smooth and appropriate positioning of the racks.
I hope you support this initiative. Keep posted for future election pledges. Vote 1 Clyne for Mayor 2014.