Bike lane’s killed shop, says owner
A bike-lane trial on the Burrard Street Bridge that aims to preventinjuries to cyclists has resulted in a casualty of a different sort — a50-year-old Vancouver business.
A bike-lane trial on the Burrard Street Bridge that aims to prevent injuries to cyclists has resulted in a casualty of a different sort — a 50-year-old Vancouver business.
Ron Appleton, owner of Hornby Street’s Appleton Galleries, said yesterday that his sales dropped 75 per cent in September, throwing his retirement plans into chaos.
The reason for the drop, Appleton said, is because vehicles can no longer turn right from Pacific Avenue onto Hornby — a restriction that is intended to stop vehicles from turning in front of cyclists.
“I’m sorry,” said Appleton, after he was cutoff following an impassioned five-minute address to council yesterday morning. “My life and business are at stake here. So I’m sorry.”
The turning restriction, he said, has dried up vehicle traffic in front of his Inuit and First Nations art store and is affecting a number of businesses, including the A Kettle of Fish restaurant and Art Knapp Urban Garden.
Assistant city engineer Jerry Dobrovolny said traffic along Hornby has dropped to 3,500 vehicles from about 8,000 before the trial.
Mayor Gregor Robertson called Appleton’s loss of business an “unintended consequence” of the bridge lane trial, which council voted yesterday to continue through the Olympics.
“This has devastated my retirement plans,” Appleton said. “I can’t show (a buyer) that we’re making money, because we’re not making money.”
The three-and-a-half month trial increased cyclist traffic by about 70,000 new trips this summer.
A report to council yesterday showed there was about 45 per cent support to continue it.
Council also abandoned future plans to widen the bridge, which should save the city around $30 million.
About a dozen people, including Appleton, spoke at the council meeting yesterday morning.
Avid cyclists complimented council on the trial, but pressed for a trial that would remove two vehicle lanes. Others spoke about the increase in traffic in residential areas near the bridge.
Following the Games, the city will look at long-term options for the bridge. The aging span needs extensive repairs to the sidewalks and guardrails that are expected to cost in the order of $30 to $35 million.