Ikea are making a big thing about their new Greenwich store being sustainable right now. Yet others worry pretty much everyone will drive. What’s the reality?
Well, it seems a sizable number will walk or take public transport if other stores are any guide. As 853 has pointed out, in Croydon it’s 28%.
A minority sure, yet given numbers who visit the shop that’s still a lot of people. And Croydon has far, far less high-density housing in walking distance.
I’ve heard some people recently state that bus cuts serving the store (another expected to be announced this week) don’t really matter in regard to Ikea as everyone will drive anyway.
Despite the popular myth of everyone heading over only for their large Billy Bookcases and flat packed furniture, in reality many people only go for the food section, the VERY cheap cafe and small homeware items that can be carried home.
But this is not to discount the impact of traffic generation. The fact is the large numbers not driving will still be dwarfed by those who drive.
So whilst bus cuts matter, and so does a lack of safe crossings in the area, road capacity also matters. It’s not either/or.
The worry lies is that on various fronts – roads and bus/train/cycling/walking – much appears to be lacking. If investment had been spent improving links from Westcombe Park station to Ikea (which is really not far at all as the crow flies) and bus cuts halted, at least some mitigating factors would have been attempted.
It would not stop traffic congestion but authorities could say attempts were made to make the best of a bad situation. That hasn’t really happened to any great degree.
As for mitigating factors like bike courier service Zedify – it’s only available for those within three miles which even puts much of Woolwich out of reach.
I’ll be heading down this week for the preview. I’ll not only be wandering around the shop and hopefully seeing views from the roof but will also see just how much has changed on the walk from Westcombe Park station and surrounding roads to the store.
Like many, but not all, I will be taking public transport. With official opening on 7th February it’ll be a good litmus test of just how “sustainable” this store is. The traffic situation will only be known on the official opening date.