Last year Vancouver saw a record breaking 9.4 million visitors, with more and more of those visitors choosing to rent a bike and explore the city’s neighbourhoods beyond the traditional Stanley Park ride (though its still a must do!). We estimate that around 10% of visitors will rent a bike or join a bike tour during their visit.
While touring the city, we hear feedback from visitors about how amazing our city is for exploring by bike. Many remark on how they wished their city would work towards safer cycling infrastructure, like what we now have on some Vancouver streets. There is no doubt, as visitors tell their friends back home about their experience here, it adds to our reputation and desirability as a destination. That being said, our infrastructure did not appear overnight. It has been the result of decades of effort by active transportation advocates such as HUB and BEST, BC Cycling Coalition, and the new Streets for Everyone (who are specifically working on the Drive proposal), as well as forward thinking city counsel.
Last week a petition against the proposed bicycle infrastructure plans for Commercial Drive in Vancouver’s Grandview Neighbourhood was circulated by The Drive Business Improvement Association.
Since this petition gained awareness with the general public, many advocates including long time City Counsellor and city planner Gordon Price, have concisely explained away the negative impacts claimed by The Drive BIA. These claims include supposed negative impacts to local business, burden on taxpayers, reduced parking, etc. And here we thought we had already passed these hurdles of public opinion!
One has to only look as far as Downtown Vancouver to see how opinions can shift due to results. In the past 5 years, we have seen the Downtown Vancouver BIA, embrace the new separated bicycle infrastructure, creating a healthy and accessible environment for both staff and patrons who visit. “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,” says Executive Director Charles Gauthier. From a personal standpoint, we would never have opened our bike shop in downtown if it were not for the Hornby, Dunsmuir and Comox bike lanes.[single-image]
Bomber Brewing is a local East Vancouver business that is certainly benefitting from the bike traffic of Adanac Bikeway. Photo: Cycle City Tours’ Brewery Tour
As a bicycle tour company and rental shop, we bring thousands of visitors on our tours to bike-friendly neighbourhoods, as well as recommend bicycle friendly streets for them to explore Vancouver’s unique shops and culture. As one of Vancouver’s most interesting streets, we would certainly recommend The Drive to thousands of visitors a year who want to explore by bike… IF they can ride there safely. With up to a million visitors on bikes per year in Vancouver, The Drive has everything to gain by becoming known as a bike friendly destination, and we certainly hope to see The Drive BIA change their perspective
Featured image credit: Paul Kreuger