Guest Post: Know thy Customer – Look for Changes

Guest blogger Robert looks at some of the noise around the latest cycleway consultation in his neck of the woods:

After 30 years of living in a particular location you do get a bit of a feel for the place. The Edgeware/St Albans area is our home and our community. In that thirty years you notice change, sometimes change for the better and sometimes not so much.  Like many suburban Christchurch shopping areas, Edgeware Village shopping area has been affected by changing shopping patterns and habits.  One of the reasons is due to the easy accessibility to other larger shopping areas, which can offer more variety and better prices. What these larger providers do not offer in the same way however is a local friendly and helpful service. There will always be a need for places like Edgeware Village.

Handy - Right outside the door at Edgeware Supervalue
Handy – Right outside the door at Edgeware Supervalue

You could almost say that the gradual demise of Edgeware Village shopping has been due to the motor vehicle. If something is cheaper across town it has been too easy to jump in the car and go get it. Compare Wellington with its hilly terrain and small vibrant community shopping centres. They survive because it is simply too much hassle to drive to the best price.

When a major cycleway project comes along that is entirely funded by local council and central government and will do three good things for business you would expect an enthusiastic response from the recipients.

Not so handy - Nice bike-racks, but no tenants = reduced need for parking.
Not so handy – Nice bike-racks, but no tenants = reduced need for parking.

What are these good things ?

Firstly a major cycle-way that will see each day people on bikes in their hundreds passing through the area. Some of these people will shop along their journey and, because of that convenience, price will not always be an issue.  People on bikes like to shop local and many will not normally visit Edgeware Village currently.  Extra space for parking will not be needed; these people will come free from such baggage (well, some more racks would be nice but they don’t take up much space).

Local shopping: not everyone comes by car
Local shopping: not everyone comes by car

Secondly, in my 30 years of living in the area the big plea to enhance Edgeware Village has been to make it more pedestrian friendly. The plan for the Colombo St / Edgeware Rd intersection is “an attractive and compact centre, high quality locally-owned shops and restaurants, and safe, high amenity, pedestrian-focused streets”.

Yet this is being opposed.

Thirdly, we all yearn for a sense of community. Community comes from having spaces that we can meet together, enjoy and be proud of. A sense of community is good for business, because when we feel good, we spend.  This project will deliver that.

Yet it is being opposed.

If only there was a way to beat the rush-hour congestion - oh, wait...
If only there was a way to beat the rush-hour congestion – oh, wait…

One of the arguments against this change is that shoppers will find it easier to drive to Merivale instead.  I am sure that anyone who wants to go to Merivale has their reasons and does that already. I know I do, and sometimes the reason is because from Rugby Park it is a more pleasant bike ride (even with Papanui Road) than negotiating Trafalgar St and Edgeware Rd to get to our favourite Butcher and Vege shop.

Recently it was reported that the new New World supermarket had helped to finance a flash intersection on Main Road Redcliffs so that those driving cars, pedestrians and those riding bikes had a good experience accessing the supermarket.  At Edgeware village this amenity is being provided for free.

Yet it is opposed.

Another one of those lycra louts...
Another one of those lycra louts…

My plea therefore to the business fraternity of Edgeware Village is: Do not judge us before you know us.  We do not wear lycra and we do not run red lights. We are your customers, your business, your future.  Know us, please.  Support the plan, it will be a point of difference for Edgeware Village.

Council update: Based on early feedback on its plans for the Papanui Parallel Major Cycle Route, the Council is inviting comments on an additional option to build a cycleway along Caledonian Rd instead of Colombo St. As a result, the submission period for the Papanui Parallel consultation has been extended until 14 December and two additional drop-in sessions have been arranged for people to discuss plans with staff. These are on:

  • Thu 3 Dec, 4.30-6.30pm, St Albans Community Centre, 1047 Colombo Street, St Albans
  • Fri 4 Dec, 11.30am-1.30pm, Scottish Society Hall, 134 Edgeware Road, St Albans

1 thought on “Guest Post: Know thy Customer – Look for Changes”

  1. Thanks for posting this Robert. The naysayers should remember the old CBD with plenty of (free) parking (yes indeed, old school thinking)) but still struggling to compete with the malls. Small businesses should provide a credible alternative to the malls and embrace any customer regardless of how they arrive at their doorstep. If businesses only want compete on parking they are likely to lose out to the malls. People visit your shop, restaurant, pub, butchery or dairy etc because they like what ever you are selling not because you have plenty of free parking…

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