By Palak Klaire
Businesses in South Vancouver are not receiving the full benefit of increased traffic from cyclists due to South Vancouver’s scattered bike lanes that are often unprotected from traffic.
According to Kay Teschke, a professor at UBC who helped initiate the Cycling in Cities program which investigates factors that encourage or discourage cycling, people fear the busiest trails in South Vancouver as a result of sparse biking routes that are often potentially dangerous. Teschke said, “in popular areas for bicycling like Main Street, there are no decent bike lanes, even though some people are brave enough to use them.”
Many bikers fear collisions and while many bike lanes provide protection the risk factors are a big concern for large parts of South Vancouver. “Cambie has bike lanes but they are not physically separated its just paint and only some people are willing to ride on them, along Marine Drive so there are so many places where we just don’t have proper bike lanes,” Teschke said.
Small businesses in South Vancouver are better served by walking, transit, and cycling because drivers often choose bigger box stores. It’s tiresome to bike long distances and as a result riders often choose to go on a short journey to nearby shops but will purchase less than those who drove.
According to Rob Nijjar, executive director of the South Hill Business Association, “the number of bicycle lanes in the city is calculated partially by request. If demand is low, fewer lanes may amount to the same level of public service.”
According to Nijjar efforts have been made by the city of Vancouver and the South Hill Business Association in expanding South Vancouver’s biking network. “Installation of bike racks has been happening for years people on Fraser. On the street you will see there are bike racks, as we work with the city, that’s what our business association does to improve our area,” Nijjar said.