While I do not often frequent shopping centres, I do need to visit them sometimes and the ones I go to are Charlestown and Kotara.
When I go to Charlestown Square, I travel behind St Pius College, through Kotara Homemaker centre and along Raspberry Gully Track, then up Aberfeldy Close (which I don’t actually ride, I push my bike as it is so steep). At the top of it, there is a short path and steps linking it to Benaud Street. From here I ride the short distance to Charlestown Road, then along Charlestown Road I ride on the footpath as the road has four lanes of fast traffic and no shoulder space and the footpath is usually empty. At Charlestown Square, there are plenty of bike racks and they are all situated outside the centre:It is relatively easy to get there from my direction, apart from the hill I have to climb, and access into the centre is easy once there as there is no navigating the car parks.
To get to Westfield Kotara, I ride along the bike path behind St Pius College and from there along the shared paths leading to the Centre, crossing at the pedestrian lights near the Centre. Once there, I follow the pedestrian path to get in, as the traffic entrance, comprising a roundabout under cover and therefore in darkness, is quite dangerous.From here, I go between the parked cars and then ride through the car park with the cars, though the car parks are dark in places. I head as quickly as I can to the pedestrian crossing and the bike racks which are located right outside the shops:The bizarre part of this is that, while the bike paths leading to this Centre are flat and well separated from the roads, the track leading into the Centre is not well defined for bikes, and there is no designated route to the bike racks. There are more and more bikes being used at this centre, I usually count at least 6 when I go there, whereas last year there would be only mine. I hope that a designated path is put into place or a rack is built near to the path, where some already park their bikes, attaching them to handrails.
Both these centres have parking problems, which could be greatly alleviated if more people rode bikes, but the mish mash of infrastructure available means that not many take the option of riding at present.