Hornby St. merchants predict big business losses
Merchants on Hornby Street believe they'll see business drop by more than 20 percent if a dedicated bike lane is installed on the downtown Vancouver street.
A survey of Hornby Street business owners conducted by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business found that 92 per cent of business owners fear a negative impact to their livelihoods. Of those providing a projection, the sales loss averages 23 per cent if the proposed bike lane project goes forward.
Vancouver city council votes Tuesday on whether the project, a six-month trial, gets green-lighted.
"On average, business owners are expecting a 23 percent sales loss," said Laura Jones, vice-president of CFIB for Western Canada.
Estimated losses ranged from five to 80 per cent. In dollars, the average sales lost per business is estimated at $6,960 a month – or $83,000 annually. The CFIB admits it's only a prediction.
"It's an estimate as much as the cities guess or estimate how many bikes will come down in ridership," Jones said. "So [the city] have their estimates of increased bike ridership we have our estimates based on business owner's best guesses."
The federation wants the city to commit to compensation -- or promise to scrap the lane -- if businesses start hurting.
A longstanding concern about the lane is the loss of parking on Hornby Street. City staff says 158 spots will be lost, but it will be offset by private lots and spaces on nearby streets.
Vancouver's mayor says parking will remain available on every block during the trial. As for the price tag, Gregor Robertson calls the estimated $3.2 million cost of the six-month trial an investment.
"I don't know what percentage can be recouped but basically it is a trial and can come back out if it doesn't work. There are other uses for that equipment I'm sure," Robertson said.
The Vancouver-Area Cycling Coalition believes the lane could actually present a new business opportunity on the street.
"There is that sort of misconception that cyclists don't currently come to the business and the reality is that you're doing two things. One is a lot of your current customers do ride but the other is you're bringing a while new market to your area," said Keith Ippel.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Maria Weisgarber