9 Replies Latest reply on Jun 26, 2014 4:36 PM by Guy Tondeur

    Liberalizing shopping hours

    laurence Ullmann

      In many European cities, shopping hours are quite strict. Would it make sense to stagger or extend shopping hours with a view to relieve congestion, parking difficulties, vehicle street occupancy?

      What do you think Elizabeth SevoAnthony Le BleisGuy TondeurDidier Rougeyron?

        • Re: Liberalizing shopping hours
          Michelle Vuillerot

          Extended shopping time makes good sense in very large towns full of people working late. In other environments though, I think they make little sense.

          • Re: Liberalizing shopping hours
            Didier Rougeyron

            In France the debate on the opening of stores Sunday exists for many years. For me it is not a good idea, for various motives. Why not the night also?!... But the buyers will not take for all the electric bus ( !), thus I see here an intensification of the road traffic, the noise pollution, the atmospheric pollution, the energy consumption (electricity). It would be the city which never stops and for the rest of the local residents, for our biorhythm also, to extend shopping hours would not be desirable in most of the cases. Big cities as New York or Bangkok are and have to remain exceptions.


              • Re: Liberalizing shopping hours

                It was a great debate more than a decade ago where I live and the decision was made to open on Sunday everywhere in Quebec.


                For me, there are positive and negative side impacts.


                Negative: we now see full parking lots in shopping malls on a sunny Sunday ... wondering why people are not outside or socializing somewhere else.


                Positive: it became very practical for me to shop on a rainy Sunday, especially when my kids have a packed day of activities on Saturday. It also gives partial time working opportunities for the younger ones.


                But the impact on congestion? Not relevant. People are still rushing after work during the week to get goods, hence there are no real problem during week-ends, as there is no congestion, even in big cities.

                  • Re: Liberalizing shopping hours
                    laurence Ullmann

                    Thank you Jean-François Bruneau for this answer. It is interesting as you experienced both modes and apparently see no change in congestion patterns.

                      • Re: Liberalizing shopping hours

                        Actually, here are some more details.


                        Sunday always have been and remains the less travelled day of the week in cities, except for "touristical or recreationnal" areas with higher traffic volumes on week-ends.


                        The key factor is that Sunday did not become comparable to any other weekday just because stores were open. The key factor for congestion is rush hour, not shopping.


                        I think the main point is the tendency for people to save time and complete their trip from work to home by adding a stop or two for shopping, in a complex chain of travelling.


                        Then congestion could not ne reduced by the only mean of commerce schedules, but it's the whole system of working hours, even in offices, that has to be addressed.

                          • Re: Liberalizing shopping hours

                            Thank you Jean-François Bruneau for this interesting analysis. I agree with you about the working hours that are key to the congestion problems. But I do not see any great solution to spread the working time over a longer period than today as I think people need to work together a minimum...

                            Today people can frequently begin working from 7am to 9am and leave from 4:30pm to 7pm or even more and it is not enough to avoid congestion except at the edges of these slots. Some parents have to set down their children at school in the morning and to pick them up in the evening. So school time is important too.

                              • Re: Liberalizing shopping hours

                                You're right Guy Tondeur as teleworking (like I'm presently doing!) is increasing but is not a "complete" solution. We will always need to gather for a while, and there is still a strong core of the population set on the classical frame (8 to 4). For the school rides, we have in North America school buses taking the children (a lot more safely) from anywhere (almost) to school. So it becomes your personal choice to bring kids to school. Studies are clear on this: parents don't trust school bus and rather go themselves, but the risk of being injured is between 20 to 50 greater by car than by bus. Where I'm getting at is that we need to educate more population about their choices. Now there is so many cars near the school yard that parents are no longer willing to let their kids walk or go to school by bike ...

                                  • Re: Liberalizing shopping hours
                                    laurence Ullmann

                                    Thanks Jean-François Bruneau for this insight on the "school hour" contribution to congestion. I agree with you that school buses are an answer but they also present a few inconveniences. When I lived in DC, for instance, my teenage daughter began school at 7:30 am and the school bus came by at 6:20 for a... less than 2 mile ride! So I took her to school just to give her an extra hour of sleep.

                                    I don't know what the answer is, but it appears that a major reconfiguration of schedules in general (work + school + shopping times) might be necessary to really see a difference in urban congestion problems.

                                    What do you think Guy Tondeur?

                                      • Re: Liberalizing shopping hours

                                        I think you are right laurence Ullmann but it is not so easy! One possible solution would be to individualize school transport by co-modality mixing public transport and autonomous vehicles so that children and students can go to school college or university by themselves.


                                        Can we imagine a sequential opening of the stores and offices downtown?

                                        Is it stupid to ask drivers from the country around to go to the city at a chosen time so that the highway and the roads are not overcrowded? This choice would be made by both  drivers and a "traffic regulation authority". Probably not so easy but isn't it a way to explore?