How can we attract more customers?

Yarra’s shopping streets can be better for business if more people live nearby and shops are easy to access, irrespective of whether people choose to walk, cycle, use public transport or drive.

Image credit: Cohere

More business from 20-minute neighbourhoods

Yarra’s population will grow by 60% to 2040, meaning that more people will live close to each shopping street. Unless we change how we design our streets, it will also mean that traffic will be congested, all free parking will be occupied and shops will be difficult to access by car. As our population increases, traders will be better able to attract stable, repeat business from local residents if Yarra builds 20-minute neighbourhoods, enabling shops to be accessed by walking, cycling and public transport as well as by car.

Good for Busine$$

The Good for Busine$$ report describes how streets that promote walking, cycling and public transport are better for business. Specifically, such streets generate more business and stimulate the local economy.

Support from the RACV

Victoria’s motoring organisation, the RACV, supports wider footpaths and separated bicycle lanes for Sydney Road in Brunswick, because they realise that it will be better for traders. The same logic also applies to any shopping street in Yarra.

Source: RACV

Learnings from London

Transport for London published a summary pack showing how walking and cycling benefits shopping streets:

Image credit: Transport for London

Other studies

These conclusions have been replicated in many other studies:

Design solutions

Shopping streets at the heart of 20-minute neighbourhoods can be achieved by re-designing both shopping streets and the surrounding streets. On shopping streets the parking lanes are converted to wider footpaths and separated bicycle lanes that support level-access tram stops. Parking is increased overall by using the first 5-10 parking spaces on each side street, with the first spot reserved for deliveries.

Image credit: OCULUS

Surrounding streets support walking and cycling by converting to 30 km/h superblocks:

Image credit: Streets Alive Yarra, Google Maps

Relocating parking

The studies listed above show that there is a net benefit to relocating parking from on-street to side streets. This message is also made by community groups in the USA, who point out:

Parking is lazy excuse as to why downtown is dead. We need to throw out our stripmall mentality and remember that if a place is worth visiting, people will find a way to get there.

Revitalize, or Die
Image credit: Revitalize, or Die

Example

Traders benefit even though on-street parking is re-located to side streets; because on-street parking already delivers a low percentage of customers. Consider that a cafe may have 40 seats, but the on-street car park in front of the shop only brings 2 people, so 38 people must be getting there in some other manner, which could be walking, cycling, public transport or parking on side streets. In other words, more than 90% of the patrons aren’t using the on-street parking bay in front of the shop. Instead the car parking lane would be better used to help the 90% of people; to support walking, cycling, and level access tram stops. Parking for shoppers can still be retained on side streets.

Design guides

Learn more at this collection of design guides, including the NACTO guide to urban streets:

Next → how Yarra’s streets can be better for trams