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Accessibility & Congestion
April 29, 2010
When shoppers leave their homes to make purchases, there are a variety of physical variables that affect where they choose to shop. These variables may steer a shopper either towards or away from a center, once they become familiar with it. More often than not, it makes sense to place a retailer on a street with high traffic, both pedestrian and vehicular. People are creatures of habit, and more likely to shop along their normal commute or frequent travel routes. Traffic count data is available through most local governments, and the SRS Research staff has compiled average daily counts for most roads in our markets.
However, traffic counts are not the only thing to take into consideration when looking at a retail center. As important as it is to know how many people travel by your center, it is even more important to know how many of these people are physically able to shop at your center. In order not to drive shoppers away, a center must take steps to prevent the traffic congestion it may unintentionally cause by being in a high traffic area.
Traffic congestion can turn a normal retail center into an unsafe, uncomfortable, and inefficient place to shop. Congestion at retail locations can be caused by lack of parking, driveways, signage, sidewalks, walkways, bike lanes, and arterial roads. Also, poor signalization, on-going construction, traffic accidents, and proximity to major points of interest can cause congestion.
An optimal center would need to take as many steps as possible to counteract these issues. The parking lot should be large enough to have spaces for clients at peak hours. Shoppers who reside near by should be able to safely walk or bike to the center, if they choose to do so. Signals and signs should be placed at proper intersections in order to prevent accidents and unnecessary delays. And the center should be placed at a location which affords the shopper numerous safe and timely routes by which to leave and arrive.