“If Only There Were More Parking Spaces”
I had to nip into Whitley Bay at lunchtime today to get a new strap for my watch. The old one had come unglued (for the second time), and the watch had fallen off my wrist and into the road a few days ago. Miraculously, it was undamaged!
Anyway, while I was in the jewellers, and I was picking out a new strap, we got talking about how business is for shops in the centre of Whitley Bay. It seems that despite a few recent high-profile shop closures (Woolworths, M&S and T&G Allen all within spitting distance of eachother, and all announced in the same week), things aren’t too bad on the high street.
The one gripe that always seems to come up is car parking. The town centre traders are in direct and substitutional competition with the larger shops at Silverlink (an out-of-town retail park). Because of its location, it’s a car drive from pretty much anywhere, yet its massive car park is almost always full, and traffic backing up all around it.
So the shopkeepers in Whitley Bay want to make their mile-long high street more car friendly, to tempt all these drivers away from Silverlink. When the council tries to do things like introducing parking fees for the town centre, the shopkeepers go into overdrive on lobbying and petition collecting.
The fundamental problem still remains though. How to create more FREE parking spaces in the centre of Whitley Bay? The streets are only wide enough for car parking on one side, and that’s usually 100% occupied already.
How about if they were to have a few of these ‘cars’ permanently parked up in some of those parking spaces:
I usually prefer bike racks to be less sculptural and more about function. But there’s something about the car-ness irony of this one that I just love.
If over a few years, just one in seven car parking spaces were made into on-street bike parking locations, that would effectively DOUBLE the available parking in the town centre. That sounds a heck of a lot cheeper, effective, and greener than building car parks.