Posted on October 6, 2010
Bike lanes adding new cyclists to growing downtown market for small business
In today’s e-mail, which included a great deal of reaction to last night’s council approval of the Hornby bike lane trial, was this from a resident (name withheld for privacy reasons) who exemplifies the emerging new customer base bike lanes are growing for downtown business:
I’m writing to thank you for supporting the newly approved separated bike lanes on Hornby. I’ve heard many negative predictions from the business community over the past weeks, and I think you and your fellow councillors have shown great clarity of focus in weighing arguments on both sides.
I think it’s important that business owners on Hornby recognise who their potential customers are.
I’m a 38-year-old property owner with three university degrees and a nearly three-digit salary, married with one child.
My wife and I made the considered decision to go car-free earlier this year: we sold our nice four-door sedan, bought a condo on the Ontario Street bikeway, and joined the Cooperative Auto Network.
We also cycle nearly everywhere we can in the city.
Until this past year, the city centre has felt too dangerous for us to cycle in; now we shop more frequently downtown because we feel safer going there by bicycle.
The Dunsmuir route and the Burrard Bridge are fantastic, but Hornby does not yet feel safe. Soon it will.
And because of our decision to get rid of our car, we have thousands of dollars more disposible income to spend every year, as a family, on all manner of things that are sold on Hornby Street.
The lanes are a benefit to us; our business will surely be a benefit to the merchants of Hornby as well. I think we’re the sort of family you’re trying to support, and we’re very grateful.
Surely we can’t be alone.