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This is circulating widely around the interweb today, so I’ll add to the buzz:

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Petition

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Oh no. The Commercial Drive BIA has put out a very persuasive “survey”/petition opposed to the proposed bike lanes on Commercial Drive. Streets for Everyone … help us respond to this by reaching out to your business contacts in the area to come out in favor of the proposed street enhancement project! Please help!

Yes, the Commercial Drive “Business Improvement Assocation” is out to delegitimize the some two dozen Commercial Drive businesses that are already supporting a Street For Everyone (see list below). One of their arguments is that a bike lane is apparently a “high speed cycling lane” and would be unsafe for pedestrians. Really, less safe than four lanes of fast moving cars and trucks? The protected bike lane improvements on Hornby Street made the road safer for people walking, cycling and driving reducing crashes by 19%. We expect similar results on the Drive.

None of the BIA’s protest points are empirically founded.

1. Tax burden:
The opposite is the case. Study after study finds that walking & cycling places is not only less of a burden than driving, it brings economic benefit to society, while driving is effectively subsidized by government.

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2. Decreased customer traffic and “job losses”:
Myth. Here is “every study ever conducted” on the topic: cyclists are “competitive consumers”. Is the BIA under the impressive that cyclists have no money to spend, that they don’t eat?

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3. Parking:
SFE’s analysis, backed up by independent analysis, has already found that a bike lane can be implemented with no net loss of parking. The experiences of Union Street and downtown lanes has shown that business continues to thrive..

Surprisingly, the BIA’s own Vision and Guidelines document says:
“If the City determines that a bike lane is required on Commercial Drive resulting in any loss of on-street parking, this vision proposes that the City mitigate any such loss of parking” 

“If the City does decide to implement bike lanes on Commercial Drive, the CDBS would suggest converting one (or two) travel lane(s) to two-way painted bike lanes, rather than removing on-street parking.”

Well, why is the BIA launching a campaign on the false pretence that parking needs to be taken away, when in fact their own vision describes a scenario similar to Streets For Everyone’s? Their own policy contradiction is a head-scratcher.

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4. Connecting to other bike routes:
It will connect to other bike routes: the Central Valley Greenway and Lakewood, Woodland, and Adanac via side streets. Would we like the bike lane to go even further? Yes, of course! If this was truly the BIA’s central point of contention, they could join us for that campaign.

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5. Topography:
Commercial Drive hardly has the city’s most challenging topography.
The BIA doesn’t explain what they mean by this.

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The Downtown Vancouver Business Association is far ahead of the Commercial BIA, coming out last month in favour of more cyclist infrastructure. See this and this. Their representative said, “There’s often a disconnect between how businesses think their customers get to their store and what their reality is.”

And clearly, judging by SFE’s business supporters, the Commercial Drive BIA is not representing all businesses’ points of view. Nor is it representing the community’s point of view: following an extensive community engagement process, the Grandview-Woodland Citizens’ Assembly said ‘yes!’ to a Commercial Drive bike lane.

 

How to act:

1. Email the BIA and tell them they’re wrong: info@thedrive.ca.
Check out out Fact Sheet for some content inspiration.

2. Talk to all the Commercial Drive businesses you visit.
Tell them that pedestrians and cyclists shop, too, and deserve to be treated with respect. There are tons of reasons for businesses to support a bike lane: we talk about them in our Fact Sheet and on Facebook sometimes. Tell businesses you support a Commercial Drive for Everyone in-person, by email or phone, or write on their Facebook wall or on Twitter.

3. Sign our petition
We’re already thousands strong!

4. Help us out in February with canvassing small businesses.
Respond to this email if you have some time to offer, particularly on the weekend.