COMMERCIAL DRIVE BUSINESSES RESPOND TO CITY OF VANCOUVER’S PROPOSED GRANDVIEW-WOODLAND COMMUNITY PLAN
Businesses launch petition to oppose permanent, separated bike lanes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
VANCOUVER, BC – Businesses along Vancouver’s iconic Commercial Drive are coming out in opposition to the City of Vancouver’s plan to install permanent, separated and dedicated bicycle lanes on The Drive, which is included in the recently released Grandview-Woodland Community Plan.
“The plan submitted over the weekend by the City of Vancouver makes business and property owners along Commercial Drive tremendously concerned about the viability of The Drive,” said Nick Pogor, Executive Director of the Commercial Drive Business Society. “Eliminating the already limited parking spaces along the Drive will have very serious and negative economic impacts to our businesses which draw customers from across the region and rely on existing street space for customer parking and daily deliveries.”
The CDBS is asking Mayor Robertson and Council to direct staff to amend the plan and have launched printed and online petitions which have already garnered numerous signatures in opposition to the dedicated bike lanes.
“Our members have invested millions of dollars in the region, and the City of Vancouver’s Transportation Department has repeatedly failed to listen to our concerns on this issue,” says Pogor. “We fully support cycling infrastructure in the city, however, there are already existing bike routes on either side of Commercial Drive that, if upgraded, would fully serve the needs of cyclists, while allowing drivers to continue to access our neighbourhood.”
The petition urges the City of Vancouver and the Transportation Department to “reconsider their idea to drastically alter transportation and access on Commercial Drive” as it is feared that the “construction of bicycle lanes on The Drive will reduce the area’s reputation as a regional destination-shopping neighbourhood, leading to the demise of one of the most historically significant neighbourhoods in British Columbia.” Those interested in signing are asked to submit their names to the "Online Petition".
The business mix along the Commercial Drive corridor has remained largely unchanged for over a decade, a reflection of the stable nature of this community-focussed neighbourhood. Patrons of establishments along The Drive enjoy visiting the area for the family-owned and operated businesses, the authentic and cozy feel of its ethnic restaurants and cafes, and the relaxed community feel shared between the boutiques, food markets, and holistic organizations. The recent designation of the area as Vancouver’s official “Little Italy” is yet another example of Commercial Drive’s vital heritage position in the city, a position that could be drastically changed forever, should the City’s plan be adopted by Council.
“Our members support transportation infrastructure for cyclists, but the reality is that Commercial Drive’s unique mix has made it a destination shopping and entertainment district for families from across the Lower Mainland,” added Pogor. “Businesses are concerned that shoppers from across Metro Vancouver will be discouraged from travelling to our neighbourhood because of the bicycle lanes, which will turn the street into a transportation corridor. Unlike other commercial neighbourhoods that have installed bike lanes, Commercial Drive does not have parkades and other alternative parking options for drivers.”
Small businesses rely on destination shoppers while the local job market relies on the same businesses remaining economically viable. These businesses are the thriving heart of this historic neighbourhood, affectionately known as “The Drive”. The area is home to the largest stock of heritage commercial buildings in the City, not to mention the picturesque heritage residences surrounding the Drive itself, and business owners are not in a hurry to force change on the vibrant face of this multi-cultural community.
For information about the Commercial Drive Business Society, visit: www.thedrive.ca.
About the Commercial Drive Business Society:
The Commercial Drive Business Society represents approximately 650 businesses that make up one of British Columbia’s most historical and unique shopping districts. The Society is a non-profit who’s goal is to develop, encourage and promote business, business development, retailing and tourism in the Commercial Drive Business Improvement Area, from Venables to 13 th Avenue, along Commercial Drive and one block east and west within the same catchment.