Downtown businesses give their opinion on St. David Street redesign
23 parking spaces will be removed as part of a plan to add separate cycle paths to the artery
Support for a plan to add separate cycle lanes to St. David Street North may be unanimous among Center Wellington advisers, but some downtown businesses fear losing valuable parking spaces.
Council agreed to go ahead with the cyclist-friendly option for the street redevelopment earlier this month.
The plan will see the total number of parking spaces on St. David Street N. between St. Andrew and Hill Streets reduced from 42 to 19, and the number of “heavily used” spaces between St. Andrew and St. Andrew Streets. St. Patrick will be reduced from 14 to four, township staff said at the meeting.
The decision left Nathalie McNeill, owner of Fountain Head Health Food Store “disappointed”.
“I really think it’s an absolute waste and won’t do anything in particular for the city,” she said, adding that she doubted the bike lanes are used well during the winter.
“We have enough problems with parking without having to eliminate all the spaces up there,” she continued.
A block on the corner of St. Andrew and St. David streets, Lori Clarke, owner of The Vault Coffee and Espresso, shared some of McNeill’s disappointment at the loss of parking, but also said she thought the new bike lanes would be good for pedestrians. and the safety of cyclists.
Ultimately, however, she said the move could reduce the number of people walking through its doors.
“We may have a few more cyclists, we already have cyclists,” she explained. “But people, if they are planning to stop for coffee, if there isn’t a convenient place to park, they’ll continue most of the time.”
Meanwhile, Joyce Reimer, owner of Fergus Scottish Corner Shop, said that as a cyclist herself, she has repeatedly advocated for the creation of a cycle path between Fergus and Elora, but she is concerned the addition of bicycle paths on St. David Street to the detriment of parking.
“My clientele, in general, is an older clientele,” she said. “The goods they buy here, they won’t be able to transport them by bicycle … it’s nice to make the city center prettier, but to remove parking spaces, I don’t know how a retail store can handle this. We barely hold on like that.
As president of the Fergus Business Improvement Area, Kim Jefferson said he heard from business owners concerned about the loss of parking, but also others who support the plan as a way to beautify the downtown. city and encourage cycling.
While parking has long been “in high demand” in the city center, she said there had been improvements with the recent implementation of three-hour parking in the area.
Moving forward with the St. David Street project, Jefferson said she would like the township to be flexible and make changes on the fly if more parking is going to be lost or additional spaces cannot. be created elsewhere,
“Wider sidewalks are good for accessibility, bike paths are good for the environment, but we still have to consider that we are in Canada where everyone drives,” she said.