Sunday, 27 January 2013

How to damage your local parade of shops

From today's Observer:
Lord Stern, author of the government-commissioned review on climate change that became the reference work for politicians and green campaigners, now says he underestimated the risks, and should have been more "blunt" about the threat posed to the economy by rising temperatures  
He said some countries, including China, had now started to grasp the seriousness of the risks, but governments should now act forcefully to shift their economies towards less energy-intensive, more environmentally sustainable technologies.
Clearly there's big stuff that needs to happen, such as changing from coal-fired power stations to solar and wind power, but there are also tried and tested ways of reducing carbon emissions, such as nurturing cycling over car usage and encouraging local shopping.

Lambeth has, compared with some other boroughs, been working to increase the numbers cycling for a number of years now for the usual good reasons of reducing congestion, increasing local, low-cost mobility, cutting CO2 and pollution, and reducing road danger.

So it's really surprising that there are still whole parades of shops in Lambeth that don't have any cycle parking at all. I wrote in 2010 on the lack of cycle parking on Kennington Road and there's still no cycle parking along there.

Down on Kennington Park Road opposite Kennington Park there's a parade of shops on Cycle Superhighway 7, passed by thousands of cyclists every day who don't stop because there's nowhere to park their bike while they nip into a shop
All the street furniture that exists is too wide to get a D-Lock, the type most cyclists use, around. The consequence is that the local economy is missing out on customers which means local residents are therefore missing out on jobs. If a retailer isn't getting enough people through the door they cut back on their stock, making the shop less appealing and ultimately it goes out of business. This impacts in turn on locals who have to travel further to do their shopping.

A little further afield, here's a quick night-time phone snap of the Elm Park Parade that I took the other night on a visit to the Elm Park Tavern. There isn't a Sheffield Stand for the whole parade including the pub. The option is to lock your bike to a signpost, if you can find one that's not already being used, knowing your bike isn't as secure as it would be with proper cycle parking.
There's a subliminal message here too - we don't welcome people who ride bikes to our parade. But look at all that inviting car parking space.

It really shocks me that there can be whole parades of shops without a single cycle parking stand in a borough that prides itself on getting cycling.