Parking spaces lost to cycle lane were our lifeline, say Yate traders
TRADERS on the main road into Yate say they have "lost their lifeline" after roadside parking spaces were removed to make way for new cycle lanes.
Some of the business owners on say they could be forced to close because of the loss of spaces for 26 vehicles, which had been used by customers to park in front of their shops.
A cycle lane and double yellow lines were installed in August, removing on-street parking on the stretch of the A432 between the council offices on Badminton Road and B&Q.
Station Road Barbers owner Pete Crawford of said: “The parking was only on one side of the road and it was a lifeline for us. Coupled with the whole COVID thing, I can’t see us lasting out this year.”
South Gloucestershire Council introduced the cycle lanes on an experimental basis to encourage "active travel", describing the changes as "the first phase of a more ambitious programme to connect the current cycling network from the Ring Road, through to Kennedy Way and Iron Acton Way".
The council said it would listen to feedback before deciding whether to make the change permanent within 18 months.
But the traders claim that unless something is done about parking, there may not be any shops left by then.
Tig Miller, who owns D.E.L’s cafe, says business is down by 50%.
He has been filming the road continuously and says fewer than 1 in 500 people a day are cyclists, while on wet days he has not found anyone on a bike on the footage.
Tig said: "It’s a major issue for us. I know the council’s idea is there’s plenty of off-street parking down side roads but in fact we rely on through traffic pulling over – a lot of customers are in vans and lorries.
"We used to get a team of six scaffolders in every morning; they would have a cooked breakfast and spend £30 a day. Losing just that one customer makes a huge dent in our income.”
Pete Crawford says his barbers lost half of its business from the first day that the changes were made, because customers pop in rather than making an appointment.
He said: “If customers can’t park, there are twelve other barber shops in the area that will take our business. It’s only a five-minute walk from the car park, but they can park right outside some of our competitors."
Ironically, the changes have also hit business at bike shop Terry’s Cycles. Owner Nigel Simms says customers now think they are not allowed to pull in to unload because of the double yellow lines.
He said: “The council have assured us customers can stop there but refuse to comment on why a double yellow line was used."
Nigel said the confusion and lack of signs for the nearby Longs Drive short-stay parking meant he had "pretty much lost all passing trade".
He said: "We are getting substantially more phone calls per day, and at least 80% will at some point ask 'where do I park now?'"
Nigel says residents are also affected – the family living above the shop have lost their parking spot.
New double yellow lines have been installed to keep the cycle lanes free of parked cars
At car parts shop MotorAid5, Will Macmillan said spaces used by customers in side street The Avenue were now rammed.
He said: “Everyone is cramming down the Avenue and parking everywhere, disappearing off to other shops, using up spaces for our customers. If you are going towards B&Q this is the last lane you can park in before Tesco. We’ve got a petition and we’re encouraging people to sign it.”
A South Gloucestershire Council spokesperson said: “We encourage any businesses with concerns to contact us directly so we can work with them to explore any potential solutions.
"These could include fast tracking applications for dropped kerbs to allow parking on their own premises, or identifying any alternative pubic parking that is available, for instance.
“We understand that the way consumers shop is changing and we will do everything we can to support any retail businesses who may be struggling in the current circumstances.
"We will be soon be in touch with independent retailers and hospitality businesses in the area and will be expanding our ‘Shop Locally’ campaign to include Station Road in Yate.”