Petition fights idea of Commercial Drive bus lanes

Matt Robinson, Postmedia Network

Commercial Drive business owner Domenico Bruzzese is concerned about a proposed plan to instal bike lanes on the popular Vancouver street.  (photo by Ric Ernst / PNG)

Commercial Drive business owner Domenico Bruzzese is concerned about a proposed plan to instal bike lanes on the popular Vancouver street. (photo by Ric Ernst / PNG)

More than 5,000 people who shop in stores on Commercial Drive have signed a petition opposing City of Vancouver plans for a bike lane along the busy street.

The petition comes as municipal staff prepare to take the idea to residents at a pair of open houses this week.

Most of the signatories added their names to the petition while in shops on the Drive, said Nick Pogor, the executive director of the Commercial Drive Business Society.

“In other words, these are real clients, real customers who shop in our stores every day. They are saying to the City of Vancouver: ‘This is an important neighbourhood to us and we ask you please not to alter it for the sake of a bike lane to nowhere,’” Pogor said in a news release.

Separately, the business society surveyed over 1,000 people to ask how they travelled to the Drive. About seven per cent had biked.

“Even on sunny summer days, our intercepts results are showing that the overwhelming majority of shoppers on the Drive are not bicycling to our neighbourhood,” Pogor said.

The city is preparing to turn Commercial Drive into a so-called “complete street” where “walking, cycling, and using transit is not an afterthought, but an integral planning feature,” according to information that will appear at a pair of open houses Thursday at the Croatian Cultural Centre and Saturday at Wise Hall. That could mean wider sidewalks, raised crosswalks, covered bus stops, more street furniture and protected bike lanes, among other things.

Dale Bracewell, a manager of transportation and planning at the city, said there’s still plenty of time for feedback.

“We’re not at a point of designing anything — not bike lanes, not wider sidewalks, nothing yet for transit. We want to hear what the public and businesses think are the improvement opportunities.”

mrobinson@postmedia.com