I have to admit that sometimes George Ferguson hits the nail on the head. So it is in his latest By George column in the Evening Post. Talking about the new Carboot Circus development Ferguson refers to the giant 2,600 space car park as "the necessary evil" to make the shopping centre work.
I'd have hesitated to go so far as calling a mass of steel and concrete "evil" myself, but then I'm not a famous architect. So thanks to George for reminding us what it's all about. Forget about Park & Ride, buses, walking and cycling - it's all about the 7-days-a-week influx of thousands of cars and having a really flash place to park them all.
2,600 is a hell of a lot of parking spaces (over 10 times what George manages to cram into his Chocolate Factory development). Even so my own casual observations suggest that for every car parked at some expense in the state-of-the-art multistorey car park there will be another parked for free in the streets of St Jude's and St Paul's. Residents of River Street are particularly hard hit, having the monstrous car park looming over them (below) and all the extra traffic noise and pollution blighting their lives, but also finding that they and their visitors will be lucky to find a place to park within walking distance.
Similarly cyclists find that places to park and securely lock their bicycles are few and far between at Carboot Circus. It seems that since they won't be able to carry as much useless, overpriced tat away with them compared to motorists they are not to be made welcome at the Cathedral of Commerce. Nevertheless some appear to be visiting (perhaps taking a break from the futile search for a safe and convenient way of cycling through or around a development which has obliterated so many formerly useful cycle routes) and have had to improvise when it comes to cycle parking.