ACT News


Fears Bunda cycle plans could drive down sales

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.

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.


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