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pedestrianisation and economics

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  • Simon Norton
    I think I understand why people might believe that pedestrianisation might harm their business. Suppose one believes that (a) For people who have a car
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 25, 2012
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      I think I understand why people might believe that pedestrianisation might harm
      their business.

      Suppose one believes that
      (a) For people who have a car available for a given shopping journey, the choice
      is likely to be between driving to a car friendly area and to a pedestrian
      friendly area;
      (b) For people who do not have a car available, there is likely to be no choice
      at all because of limitations on how far one can walk or cycle, or (especially
      for people living in rural areas) the availability of public transport;

      Then it would seem to follow that there is nothing to lose and everything to
      gain by being car friendly. Pedestrians and cyclists may well be spending more
      overall, but they will be doing so in any case (assuming that what they buy is
      determined primarily by what they need, which of course may not be the case, but
      I suspect it's more likely to be so for them than for motorists).

      I often feel that consumer resistance to the idea of paying to park has not been
      overcome, and there are many motorists who as a matter of principle will drive
      to somewhere where they can park free even if this means paying more in extra
      fuel costs than they are saving. (Though they will simultaneously complain about
      the high price of fuel !)

      I think that there is only one way out of this problem: impose a tax on parking
      space provided by shops for their customers. Even if retailers in peripheral
      areas choose to absorb this tax, they will be in a less favourable competitive
      position than if they are able to make society as a whole pay for the cost of
      the traffic they generate.

      Simon Norton
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