Ken links to a piece he thinks worth reading from Average Joe: No Lack of Parking on Hornby Street – So Why are Businesses Complaining? 

Writer Jeff Lee quoted angry business-owners on Hornby. Mike Brascia of Brascia’s Tailors (at 580 Hornby St) was most vocal of all, complaining that his business was negatively impacted by loss of parking spaces – “Of course I have seen my business decline. Customers can’t park out front.”
That seems like a pretty strange thing to say. Below is Brascia’s Tailors (shop with blue sign on the right). As you can see, it is right next door to a major parking garage (note the empty spots).
I kept an eye on it for a few days. There is parking available there all day, every day. And you can park for a mere $5 per hour – exactly the same price as it would be to park on the street and feed the meter.
… I may just be expecting too much, but surely the journalist should have noticed the giant parking garage and asked Brascia how he could possibly be complaining about lack of parking? After all, the photographer could have reached out his left arm and almost touched the parking garage!


  1. Cue The Price is Right losing horn: Dun dun duh-dah WEEEEEOOOOooooooooo.
    The interesting thing about the picture is Brascia is gesturing AT the parking garage. Maybe when Brascia says “no parking” he actually means there is no place for his clients to arrive chauffeured in a limousine right to his door.

  2. The Lee piece was such a frustrating read. He fails to mention *any* success stories (such as the opening of the new White Spot), and particularly, fails to include The Parker’s 180-degree about-face on the issue. They are now on the record stating they were “100% wrong” fighting the parking-protected bike lane on Union Street, and that business “has never been better”, in part, due to the tourists venturing out of the downtown peninsula on their bicycles.
    But foror me, the best riposte came in the “letters to the editor” section a few days later:

  3. That’s so blatant, you’ve got to think the Sun is trolling the poor tailoring idiot. “Sure, buddy, we’ll run a story about how lack of parking is hurting your business. No problem! I’m sure that’ll be great for you.”
    And if the guy wants to get his business name in the Sun, why on earth wouldn’t he want the story to say “Downtown tailor next to abundant parking for both cars and bikes, and mere blocks from bus and Burrard skytrain: come one come all..”
    Really, really weird psychology going on here.

    1. I don’t get that either. Merchants are basically telling the public, don’t both shopping here, there is nowhere to park.

  4. The one street design choice that might really be hurting is Hornby being one way. His customers coming from Pender can’t easily get to the SECOND parking garage on the other side of the street by the YWCA.
    Tailor-man should be advocating for Hornby being two way, with a cycle track on either side.

  5. Personally, I think the original article is a very bad case of “assembly-line” writing. And I won’t call it journalism. Every once in a while, someone at PostMedia decides that it’s time to write another hot-button “we hate bike lanes” story, because it plays well to a certain demographic. Click-bait and all that.
    Clearly, it does the complainer no good since as pointed out above, he really has no parking complaint. It just makes him look silly.
    As to the writer, to take this complaint at face value looks lazy and ill-considered. Aside from abundant low-cost low-effort next-door parking, aren’t there seismic forces at play in the world of retail that swamp the parking issue? Generational change, style and trend changes, shifting size of market niches, employment patterns constantly on the move, marketing strategies for an online world? And aren’t there similar changes in how people get around? Has it really ever been true that most customers arrive by parking in front of the store? Is downtown Vancouver really just a glorified strip mall?
    In addition, the “jury” has already voted. In the 2011 civic election, the NPA came out clearly against all bike lanes, and Vision clearly in favour. NPA Mayoral candidate Anton reluctantly (I hear) promised to rip them out, if certain conditions (never very clear) were met. The voters decided very emphatically on the issue, among many others.
    So the “jury” delivered their verdict long ago. The case is pretty well closed.
    This sort of bad writing is sad and unhelpful, but is likely to become even more prevalent due to the recently-announced massive consolidation in the news and newspaper business in Canada. Standards will decline even further, fewer journalists will find employment, simplistic hot-button assembly-line writing will probably increase, and the decline in this business will continue.

  6. Parkades and off street parking aren’t as attractive to drivers because of the lack of visibility of their availability and pricing structure. It is obvious when an on-street parking spot is available, and everyone knows the pricing structure, even if they don’t know what the exact rate will be. But parkades ought to get more attractive with mobile access to parking availability and pricing structure. All the available spots and the price per hour/day will just show up on a map.

  7. Perhaps most telling is the fact that the other business complaining about lost revenue in the Sun piece is a travel agent. And that’s just reported at face value, without any consideration for how other factors may be influencing their success or failure. As with the tailoring business, online retail (Indochino, Expedia, etc.) is vastly changing the way we spend our money. To simply chalk a drop in sales down to a bike lane is lazy, and quite frankly, insulting our intelligence.

    1. The bike racks (4 racks with 9+ bike spaces each in the Bentall 5 archway, one with 5+ spaces outside Bentall 5, ones with 5+ at each end of the block and 3 ‘staple’ racks along the east side) are so frequently full, that I don’t ride to my daily workout at the Y, but walk when the sun shines.
      It’s also not uncommon to see all the above full, plus all the parking meters and sign posts with bikes locked to them along that stretch.
      That would suggest that the tailor isn’t aiming for the right demographic. Especially given that Vancouver had 31% Millennials and only 23% Boomers.

  8. I’m a middle aged, professionally employed man who has never seen the need for a tailor and long ago relegated “travel agent” to the same nostalgic bin as blacksmith, cooper, milliner and switchboard operator.
    That particular tailor is so perfectly located near the tallest office towers, huge parkades and SkyTrain that he really looks like an idiot complaining that there aren’t 4 parking spaces directly in front of his shop.
    I have to agree with yvrlutyens that off-street parking downtown has a reputation for price gouging akin to that performed by hospital parkades. That reputation is, however, less deserved than ever. If you weren’t a frequent visitor you might not have noticed that many lots have been forced to offer steep discounts in an effort to fill otherwise empty spaces. Early bird rates used to apply to those arriving before 8. Now everyone who arrives by 9 and leaves by 6 can park for $9/day in a variety of central locations.
    But parallel parking spaces are one of the least efficient uses of urban land ever devised and parallel parking one of the worst disruptors of traffic flow ever invented. Parking spaces simply don’t belong on any major street. I’d rip it all out and build wider sidewalks, flower gardens, patios, bike lanes and in some places move the property lines forward so deeper buildings could be constructed. In an instant there would be hundreds of acres of new land available for people and structures. In the short term there would be fallout (parking chaos in residential areas, lost business), but streets with high pedestrian appeal would be better places to shop and would soon begin generating even more revenue than before. Those shops absolutely dependent on car traffic would have to invest in off-street parking, offer home delivery, move, or join the nostalgia list.

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