News | 11 September 2023
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Report analyses impact of street changes

A new Wellington City Council report uses Eftpos spending figures to measure the effects of pedestrian and bike-friendly street changes on local retailers.

Rush-hour for cyclists in Riddiford Street.

The first Council Changing Lanes report focuses on five retail areas – Thorndon Quay, Dixon Street, Riddiford Street, Adelaide Road and Tinakori Road.  

Initial findings show that overall, retail spending has not been negatively affected by changes to street layouts. 

Baz Kaufman, Manager of Strategy Policy and Research at the Council, says the report draws on weekly consumer spending in local businesses, in the areas where development activity is occurring. It captures about 70 percent of retail transactions and can drill down into areas where there are five or more businesses. 

“Understandably, local retailers, hospitality businesses and service providers have told us they want to better understand the impacts of these changes on their businesses. The report and the data analysis tool behind it is designed to provide an overall picture of spend before, during, and after street layout changes are made.  

“The transactions are averaged across all monitored retailers, so there may be businesses that are impacted more than others. These are likely to be businesses where on-street car parking is built into their business model.  We are now able to continually monitor the potential impacts of street changes, so that any issues can be rapidly identified and understood.” 

Anna Calver, the Council’s Manager for Economic Wellbeing, says changes to the city’s road and streetscapes can be unsettling for businesses, particularly as they recover following a few lean Covid years.  

“The changes the Council is making across the city are about making Wellington safer for everyone and fit for the future. But it’s important to acknowledge change can bring uncertainty and nervousness for some local businesses, as these improvements often necessitate the removal of some on-street parking to create more space for bikes, buses and pedestrians.  

“It’s crucial we understand the impact of works on businesses, as they are a major part of what creates a vibrant and thriving city.”  

Of five retail areas the report looks at: 
* Two show no change in retail activity during or after changes are made 
* One shows a possible increase in activity after the work was completed 
* One shows a slight decrease in activity during the work with a recovery afterwards 
* One shows slower activity during the work and a slower recovery compared to the baseline. 

Data will be internally monitored for mid to long-term trends and will include more retail --areas as street layout changes are rolled out across the city.  

The report will be produced every six months and published on the Council’s website. Relevant data will also be regularly shared with businesses.