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Fears Bunda cycle plans could drive down sales


Larissa Nicholson

Plans to revamp Bunda Street have received enthusiastic praise from cycling advocates, but some traders on the shopping strip fear changes may be bad for business.

The ACT government released three potential designs for the street on Wednesday, which will form part of the Civic Cycle Loop project, a $6 million 3.2-kilometre bicycle path that will circle the city.

Under one plan from GTA consultants, the street would become a 10km/h shared zone, with all road users navigating the space.

COSMOPOLITAN FEEL: Soho Dezigns manager Cally Earnshaw is looking forward to the redevelopment of Bunda Street in Civic.

COSMOPOLITAN FEEL: Soho Dezigns manager Cally Earnshaw is looking forward to the redevelopment of Bunda Street in Civic. Photo: Melissa Adams

Other plans from Spackman Mossop and Michaels, and Tract, would see the street become one way for motorists with a two-way bicycle path, or a shared space.

The three designs will be on display in the Canberra Centre, on the upper level opposite Big W, until January 30, and then in the Civic Library until February 7. The ACT government is encouraging public feedback on the plans.

Pedal Power ACT communications manager Matt Larkin welcomed the released plans, but said the organisation would take time to consider the three options before backing a favourite.

Mr Larkin said cyclists riding into the city centre along designated bicycle lanes sometimes felt stuck when they reached the edge of Civic where the lanes ended, and the loop would solve than problem.

''To encourage people to use the bike more, and maybe make Civic a slightly less car-dominated, friendlier place for people on foot and on bikes to be, I think a physically separated [bicycle] lane makes a huge difference in terms of the sense of security that people who don't necessarily ride bikes all the time feel,'' he said.

Cally Earnshaw, manager of Soho Dezigns on Bunda Street, said making the strip more cyclist and pedestrian-friendly would create a cosmopolitan atmosphere for shoppers.

''Bunda Street's beautiful with all the trees and the shops and the beautiful window fronts, so I think it's lovely for people to come outside and enjoy it,'' she said.

But several traders on the street said any changes to traffic conditions may prove bad for business.

One business owner, who did not want to be named, fearing confrontations with members of the public, said the proposed plans would discourage motorists from driving past her shop front, leading to fewer customers.

The trader said she had spoken to other business owners on the street who were unhappy with the proposals and may consider mounting an appeal against any changes to traffic conditions.


  • "One business owner, who did not want to be named, fearing confrontations with members of the public, said the proposed plans would discourage motorists from driving past her shop front, leading to fewer customers"

    Here's a couple of tip that will make you rich.

    1. The public are your customers, stop 'confronting' them and start serving them.
    2. I haven't done the market research to prove this but I feel confident in saying that more people walking past your store instead of driving past will probably be good for your business, unless your business is a drive-through of course.

    If you can't see the golden opportunity this presents to the traders along Bunda street then perhaps you should set up shop somewhere else.

    Stir the pot
    Date and time
    January 17, 2013, 9:25AM
    • I say close it off to cars as much as possible. And, while we are at it, how about changing the mandatory bike helmets laws too.

      Good for some
      Date and time
      January 17, 2013, 12:23PM
  • The business owners needn't worry; there are many recent studies which show that decreasing car traffic and increasing bike lanes and safe spaces for pedestrians actually encourages economic activity. I'm mostly a motorist but sometimes ride my bike into Civic...and I avoid driving my car on Bunda St almost entirely, it's too congested, and if I saw a shop I wanted to go into there's rarely parking anyway, I'd have to go pay to park in the Multi-storey car parks. Whereas if I am on my bike or walking, I can just stop and go into the shop.

    Date and time
    January 17, 2013, 9:36AM
    • The Government's Bunda cycle plans will be bad for everyone, particularly pedestrians. I don't understand why the ACT panders so much to the cycling menace of Canberra. The vocal minority must hold a lot of clout with Katie and her cronies, because even the government must know of the terror that cyclists in the ACT bring to the rest of the population. Cyclists behave as if they own the roads and footpaths through the city. The majority have no regard for road rules and as they get away with their indisgretions due to a lack of policing or accountability it seems that their behavior is getting worse. I can't imagine the number of pedestrians that will get knocked over in a 'shared' zone Bnda street,given Canberra cyclists usual disgreard of common courtesy I can only imagine how bad they'll be given further free reign.
      The construction of the Civic Cycle Loop to date seems to be a rediculous exercise, making conditions far worse for traffic congestion and far more dangerous for pedestrians in the process. The bike paths on both sides of Rudd and Bunda streets that are close to completion have made those areas so much more congested, and the number of near misses with pedestrians that i have witnessed so far is scary.
      I don't get this Government. They didn't pander to the speedway lobbyists, why are they pandering to the cycling nut jobs?!

      Bad for everyone
      Date and time
      January 17, 2013, 9:48AM
      • rumour has it mad max 4 will be filmed with everyone riding bicycles. get a grip!

        commuter cyclist
        Date and time
        January 17, 2013, 10:29AM
      • I for one am terrified by cyclists.

        Terrified that when they careen off my bonnet their shoe cleats will put dings and scratches in my car's paintwork.

        Terrified that when I get to my favourite cafe I'll find I can't get in because they're all there taking up all the space.

        Terrified that they'll get into work before I do through avoiding the traffic jams and thus make me look worse in the eyes of the boss.

        Terrified that they'll cause my BP shares to reduce in value because selling less petrol.

        Terrified that they'll make me take risks around blind corners through their inconsiderate use of low speeds.

        Terrified that they'll look fitter than me and therefore get the girls.

        Terrified that they'll spend less on transport costs and therefore have more opportunity to bore me with stories of exotic travel experiences.

        Absolutely scary, these people. I think I might have to get a bigger SUV to shield myself from the terror.

        His Lordship
        Date and time
        January 17, 2013, 12:16PM
      • "indisgretions", "behavior", "rediculous" and other errors; try using a spelling checker please!

        Surely a wider shared zone would make life *easier* for pedestrians!

        Date and time
        January 17, 2013, 12:52PM
      • Hey Bad for everyone, you are right about the almighty cyclists, not all of them but many.
        The government certainly did not pander to the major speedway lobby or the massive dragway lobby either, Mr Barr did give several ACT club run motorsport groups a handfull of pieces of eight but is still sitting on in excess of $7mil, $7mil he claims is for future actions, IE: more studies, environment plans etc which have already been done to death but when the monies gone, "uh oh, sorry can't help, no bloody money".
        The dragway lobbyists where / are a genuine bunch of people numbering hundreds in comparison to the antagonistic 'dragwayaway' bunch which in the end numbered nine people, I know as I intended to sneak into one of their last meeting prior to the 2008 election but there was no were to hide.
        As is usual for this woefull government they listened to the sooks and their speculation Mt Ainslie would collapse from the thundering, ground shaking top fuellers which would have raced for approximately six hours a year, 6 hours a year.
        Myself personally amongst all the crap and inuendo I believe to this day the government never offered a good enough deal to the lease holder of Block 51, its that simple.

        Nitro Gangster
        Date and time
        January 17, 2013, 12:58PM
      • I see the flames but grateful it is not me!

        Just spent soem quality time in Civic and went past the public consultation area outside Big W. Please drop by and fill out the survey form (in hardcopy) if you think this idea requires more work for the $6 million.

        After watching the traffic and pedestrian flows (but noting these outnumber any bikes by a factor of 100) I am of the growing view that the $6 million should be spent in making the area between Gus's and where the strange steel sculpture is a pedestrian precinct and then concentrate on the food aspects - see the Queen Street Mall approach in Brisbane.

        Give the people a reason to use Civic.

        Outraged of Palmerston
        Date and time
        January 17, 2013, 1:21PM
    • Yes, because if I was driving past your business and saw your shop, I'd jump out of my car and rush in. What a silly remark. Have you tried finding a park in Bunda Street. Half the street is a loading zone / taxi zone between 9am and 5pm. Most people park elsewhere and walk around civic. The shops on City Walk and Garema Place are doing just fine with no cars driving past them.

      Date and time
      January 17, 2013, 9:58AM

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