Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sydenham Store Closes After 26 Yrs. Road Plans to Blame?

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Sydenham Book Exchange is closing up shop on December 19, after being open to the public for 26 years. Jessie Hewitt, current owner and son of longstanding owner, attributes seveal factors to the decision to close shop - including a tough economy and the soon to be parking challenges for potential patrons. The later topic is a timely debate and concern amongst store holders in Sydenham, as preparation begins for new bus lanes to operate on Colombo Street.

The new bus lanes have been in planning by Christhurch City Council for several years as a means to tackle congestion during evening peak hours on Colombo Street, the main south bound arterial road to/from the city centre. They believe the success of the rush hour bus lanes in Papanui will be repeated in Sydenham. Environment Canterbury supports the Christchurch City Council’s planned bus lanes in conjunction with other public transport improvements. Several Sydenham shop owners along Colombo Street are opposed to the new bus lanes. They believe that business during bus lane operation hours is bound to suffer and will be another hurdle to the already struggling economic lifeblood of the area. The small business group and funding bodies now look to a compromise to reduce the operation of bus lanes from three to two hours. For further details, check out the article in Scoop.

What are your thoughts on the subject? Do you think the bus lanes are a good idea for all parties concerned (Colombo Street business owners, commuters, cyclists)?

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