Cailynn Klingbeil in the Globe writes about changing attitudes within the world of transportation and local street-front retail businesses.
There’s been a sea change in the attitude about cyclists and frankly the value that the cycling community and the cycling consumer is bringing to the marketplace,” says Charles Gauthier, president and chief executive officer of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association. “Businesses are responding by making it clear they’re catering to them.” . . . .
. . . . Mr. Gauthier’s own organization has shifted its stance on bike lanes. In 2010, the BIA raised concerns over the loss of 170 on-street parking spaces and how that would affect area businesses’ bottom lines. But an assumption held by many merchants – that most customers arrive by car – turned out to be false, Mr. Gauthier says. A 2011 economic impact study commissioned by the city and other associations, including the Downtown Vancouver BIA, showed most people walked, cycled or took transit to get downtown. Just 20 per cent of customers on Hornby and Dunsmuir arrived by car.
Mr. Gauthier’s reference to a 5-year-old economic impact study refers to the Stantec Business Impact Study on bike lanes — largely ignored by our local press when it was published on July 20, 2011. After all, there was a juicy populist, negative and divisive angle to be pursued — good old “us” vs. “them”.
How things change. And don’t change, as is the case on Vancouver’s Commercial Drive.