Sunday, 20 March 2016

City and QVM Strangled By Road Closures

The impacts of different events on business levels at QVM are many and varied and it is easy to be led astray by questionable rationale. How do we know if it is the weather, or that special sporting event, or something completely different impacting on business levels at our market. Well, the latest ingredient to get attention is road closures and this weekend there are many examples of this insidious practice.

The Grand Prix is already known as a business killer in Melbourne. Yes, it brings thousands of tourists to our fair city and it showcases Melbourne to millions of sporting fans worldwide but it definitely doesn’t do much for retail sales. Not only do fans seem to be focused on things other than shopping, but they pretty much block access to the city from the south because of their location at the Albert Park racetrack. Melbourne’s radio traffic reports in the lead up to the big race include warnings to avoid bringing your car through that southern
part of the city.

Then today we had The Run For Kids which involved the closure of many main city access points including the Monash Freeway, the Domain tunnel system, and the Westgate Freeway. Add in major construction work and lane closures on the Tullamarine Freeway and you can see the problem. The Herald-Sun described this as a weekend of traffic chaos. Who could blame Melburnians for staying away from the city and our market in their droves.

Getting the right balance between holding events and letting the city get on with the practice of doing business is very important. On this occasion, our city planners and organisers have got it all horribly wrong. Events like the Grand Prix and the Run For Kids are worthwhile but we need to find ways of conducting them without disrupting other legitimate activities. It is time the State Government did something about the impact of road closures on city business and adopted a professional management approach to the issue.