We think everyone needs to stop being "surprised" by the fact that wherever you have a little grocery shop or newsagent there are vehicles parked outside -regardless of what the signs say. Just as we've all grown used to the drive-in-free parking superstores, so the little shops in the city have to meet those same expectations -and the only available parking outside such shops will be yellow lines, zebra crossings and the like -short stay parking only, because everywhere else will be occupied by commuters and residents.
It does mean, of course, that when companies like Tesco apply to build another Tesco Express outlet, the reality of customer access has to be taken into account. Rather than pretend that double yellow lines will ensure that all customers come to shop by sustainable transport, all those lines will do is ensure that there is a low-cost short stay parking area for customers in a hurry.
Here we have Tesco Express Clifton, approaching it from the side. The no-parking signs are here to ensure that there is visibility at an otherwise dangerous junction. Today, though, it provides somewhere for the Tesco HGV WX05GXL to unload.
And behind that, a dairy truck SF05KHU. There is only room for one customer to park between the two vehicles.
Looking from the other road, you can see that visibility it totally nonexistent. The dairy HGV is partly on some zebra crossing lines, the Astra going past it has to be partly in the oncoming lane, and the car turning into this road will have to get about half-way out before it can see what is happening.
It is impossible to blame either of the HGVs for parking here. This is the only place they can park to unload their foodstuffs into this Tesco Express outlet. The underlying problem is the decision of Tesco to put in an outlet here -because they have prioritised their revenue above road safety in the city. It's different spreadsheets, see. Tesco don't have to pay parking fines on any ticketed customers; they don't suffer if someone walking, cycling or driving round gets injured. All they care about is the customer segmentation and the fact that BS8 is a high-revenue postcode where they lack any significant retail presence.
Somewhere in Tesco central will be a GIS mapping system showing the revenue opportunities of every postcode in the country and highlighting those areas where the customers are some distance from a Tesco outlet. When combined with their loyalty-card data, they can even datamine which Tesco outlets do have customers from this area, then look at the contents of their shopping trolleys to see if the BS8 customers who do shop at the Tesco Golden Hill store buy more high margin items than other customers, and so decide which items to include in the portfolio of goods to put on the shelves of the mini-outlet. Then the same HGV that delivers round to the big stores gets directions on its satnav, pops over Clifton, unloads a few crates, and then pop off to the next destination.
This is something other areas in the town that are having issues with Tesco's plans need to include in their opposition to those plans -there is no way that you can safely have multiple HGVs delivering on aggressive schedules without seeing things like this. We see it Clifton. We see it on Bedminster's "pedestrian" road, where Tesco have to park to unload as their vehicles are too big to unload round the corner. Knowle will get to see it soon too.
This then, is our photo submission topic for the week. Vehicles taking advantage of the corners of corner-shops to park there while they pop in to shop. Send the pictures to bristol.traffic at gmail dot com, and we'll discuss why parking there is so important.