Close the streets to cars, bad for the trade ? False
The Detector rumors
DETECTOR RUMORS / around the world, containment has resulted in all sorts of refurbishments, urban, several, involving the closure of business streets to cars. Although the merchants have first saw a threat to their business, studies say the opposite, notes the Detector of rumors.
This spring, the City of Montreal has announced that it wants to implement 327 km of new pedestrian and cycle paths through the metropolis. Same intention in Quebec city, where the municipal administration multiplies the streets exclusive to pedestrians and bicycles, — she had six commercial streets (12) piétonnisées at the beginning of June. In New York, Oakland (California), Kansas City, and elsewhere in the United States, the authorities have closed the streets to traffic and allowed restaurants to install tables. In Paris, some streets are described as ” boulevards for bikes “.
The transformation is not always well received by the dealers. But many studies have concluded that the removal of automobile traffic from the shopping streets is generally good for business. A report on the issue published in 2011 by the ministry of the ecological Transition and solidarity of France was that the impacts of the global economic of the piétonnisation were quite positive. A study conducted in 2008 in Melbourne, Australia, revealed that the conversion of places of parking in cycle tracks had a positive impact on the turnover of businesses local residents.
A study conducted in 2012 by researchers from the University of Portland, Oregon, revealed that pedestrians and cyclists were consuming as much, if not more, than motorists at each of their visits, which are more frequent. A survey carried out for the account of the City of Québec in 2018, in the wake of the installation is controversial in a bike lane on 3rd avenue in Limoilou area, indicated that the largest consumers move about 80 % of the time on foot or on two wheels.
The factors of success
In Montreal itself, this is not the first time that the question arises : is the piétonnisation in the summer of the rue Sainte-Catherine Is at the height of the gay Village, is a success story for nearly 15 years. In 2016, a decade after the launch of the project, the business development Corporation of the Village was referred to a vacancy rate of premises less than on other commercial streets in montreal.
In a master’s thesis in geography, published in 2011, a student from the University of Quebec in Montreal (now an advisor in planning to the City of Montreal) analysed the factors favouring the process of piétonnisation in the north american context”. To do this, she examined the specific case of the Mont-Royal avenue, in the early 2000s, and of the rue Sainte-Catherine East.
Conclusions : among the prerequisites for the success of such projects, “the importance of the power of the actors involved in making the final decision” is crucial. The decision “would appear to be little related to the project as such, its impacts, but more to the location of the leadership […], in our case corporate business development,” she wrote.
In other words : a form of consultation of the principal groups concerned, the guarantee of social acceptability, seems to be necessary to a piétonnisation successful. Without meetings, communications and other opinion polls, the various actors, merchants, as citizens, do not feel concerned by the project, and this, even if it meets in theory on their needs.