The City of Vancouver’s plan to remove more than 20 parking spots along a strip of West Fourth Avenue to create left-turn lanes at Macdonald Street is unnecessary and will only hurt business, say shop owners in the neighbourhood.
The owners of Momento Coffee House, P.C. Galore, No Pirates Allowed and The Diving Locker told the Courier that an advanced green light turn signal would be just as effective at the intersection and not require the removal of parking spots.
All the owners acknowledge they have parking spots behind their stores. But Rick Martin, who owns Momento Coffee House, said up to 25 customers park outside his store on Fourth Avenue each morning. “The people driving to work park their car, pop in, grab their coffee and off to work they go,” he said, noting he’s worried customers will seek out other coffee shops.
His loss in business, he said, could be the difference in hiring another employee or renewing his lease. Using signs to direct customers to the five parking spots out the back of Momento is unrealistic, he said.
Across the street at The Diving Locker, owner Greg Kocher said up to 50 per cent of his business comes from customers noticing his store from their vehicles. His concern is the drive-by traffic will decrease when the parking spots are removed.
City council approved the changes to the intersection this summer when it passed a series of staff recommendations to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians along the Cornwall-Point Grey corridor. The changes to the corridor call for road closures, which will result in more traffic diverted to West Fourth Avenue and Macdonald Street. City staff estimate an increase of 1,000 to 3,000 vehicles will travel along West Fourth and another 7,000 along Macdonald. The parking spots will be removed from all four corners of the intersection to allow engineers to redesign the streets to accommodate left-turn lanes with advanced green lights on West Fourth on both sides of Macdonald Street.
Greg Baker, who owns P.C. Galore and the toy store No Pirates Allowed, said he has worked on the strip for 20 years. He said the intersection isn’t a problem for accidents and it’s only during the afternoon rush when traffic gets heavy.
Though city engineers told Baker he would lose four parking spots, his measurement of the current two-hour non-metered parking spots is closer to seven vehicles.
During city staff’s presentation to city council about the changes to the Cornwall-Point Grey corridor, it was noted an increase in traffic along West Fourth Avenue would be good for business. “More traffic doesn’t necessarily mean more customers,” said Baker, who attended a meeting with city engineers last Thursday to express his frustration.
“It’s not a reasonable argument.”
Jerry Dobrovolny, the city’s director of transportation, said the left-turn lanes are necessary to avoid congestion at the intersection. When main routes get congested, motorists tend to use side streets, Dobrovolny said. “So that was an important piece of the plan and something we talked about quite a bit through the summer,” he said, noting the majority of crashes at that intersection involved pedestrians. He said the left-turn bays with an advanced green light are expected to reduce those accidents.
Simply installing an advanced left-turn green light at the intersection wouldn’t accommodate the volumes of traffic and only lead to the intersection being clogged, Dobrovolny added.
© Copyright 2013