Vancouver's bike lanes finally accepted by downtown business group

The Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association has spent years fighting separated bicycle lanes - but they're still sponsoring Bike to Work Week.

'Times have changed...and they're here to stay,' says Downtown Vancouver BIA president

Downtown businesses now accept the Hornby street bike lane after years fighting against it. (www.mayorofvancouver.ca)

After years spent fighting the separated bike lanes on Hornby and Dunsmuir streets, the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DVBIA) has softened its stance.

The organization had criticized Vancouver city council for a lack of public consultation, spoke out at public meetings and even commissioned studies to show the lanes' negative impacts on business.

But now, nearly five years since the bikeways were approved, the DVBIA is now accepting them, as it sponsors Bike to Work Week.

"Times have changed and here we are and we have separated bike lanes downtown and they're here to stay," president and CEO Charles Gauthier told The Early Edition's Margaret Gallagher.
Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association president Charles Gauthier says separated bike lanes are "here to stay". (Margaret Gallagher/CBC)

"It is a mode of transportation that people are using to come here and we don't want to deny anyone access to the downtown, including cyclists."

10,000 expected to bike to work

The DVBIA has been a sponsor of Bike to Work Week since 2008, before its opposition of the bike lanes. Gauthier says the bike lanes have affected businesses, some for better and some for worse.

"Originally there was an impact to a number of street-level businesses along the bike lanes," he said.

"I think over time, many of them have adapted and come to accept them. Others, as their leases have expired, have decided not to stay along the corridors and have moved elsewhere and others have moved in."

Bike to Work Week runs May 25 until May 31, and organizing group HUB expects 10,000 people to take part this year.

With files from Margaret Gallagher

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.