Gallery owner says bike lanes destroyed his business
Published Thursday, May 27, 2010 7:54PM PDT
A Vancouver businessman says that the city's push to make the streets more bike-friendly is responsible for the drop in business that's led him to shut his doors.
Art gallery owner Ron Appleton says he's closing his Hornby Street shop after 15 years in business.
When the city banned right turns on Hornby to protect cyclists in the designated bike lane, Appleton says drive-by customers were virtually shut out from Appleton Galleries.
"When this was imposed in July, without any warning, our business dropped 50 per cent," he told CTV News.
"(There was) no consultation, no discussion. I see the same thing happening with Dunsmuir Street and the merchants there."
Over on Dunsmuir, traffic is in disarray as construction workers prepare a new bike-only lane. One lane has been eliminated completely, and concrete barriers are going up to reserve space for bikes.
Further east on Ontario Street, a barrier was put in place in the middle of the road two weeks ago, restricting vehicle access in an attempt to make it safer for cyclists.
Motorists say they're confused by the sudden appearance of the barriers.
"I think it sucks. Now it's crazy -- the traffic is all over the place," Tom Loke said.
And local residents complain they were shut out of the planning process.
"We weren't consulted at all," neighbour Tara Lyon said.
The City of Vancouver claims there has been a dramatic increase in people heading downtown without their cars, and it wants to install more bike barriers as part of a pilot project to help cyclists feel safe.
"We have a very ambitious target in Vancouver to be the greenest city in the world," city engineer Jerry Dobrovolny explained.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Lisa Rossington