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Halifax business owners worry bike lanes will cut into parking
Plans to establish more bike lanes in the north end of Halifax aren't sitting very well with some residents and local businesses.
They're concerned the new lanes for bikes will mean fewer parking spaces for cars.
Gary Langille, who runs Papa's Mustache barber shop, is one of them.
“Where are people gonna park at?” said Langille. “If you've got no parking, you've got no business.”
As the city expands, planners are seeking a connected-network of bike-lanes all over HRM, part of a larger strategy to get more of us out of our cars, especially commutes by ourselves.
In many cases, though, bike lanes come at the expense of local-parking.
Heather Snider is trying to spread the word around the north end.
“Further up, the streets are little narrower, and the parking is going to be hard,” she said. “If anybody comes to visit, they're not going to have anyplace to stop!”
David MacIsaac is HRM’s active transportation supervisor.
“We think that there will be a very minimal impact on parking because we tend to use local streets,” he said.
Although only in the consultation-phase at the moment, officials say people in the north end will have lots of opportunities to share their concerns.
“As part of planning bike facilities, we spend about a year or so in advance, gathering input from residents and businesses and folks along the way and one of the things that we try to understand is , 'what is the parking demand?'” MacIsaac said.
Kelsey Lane is the sustainable transportation coordinator at the Ecology Action Centre.
“Bike lanes are actually good for business,” Lane said. “They drive a lot of people to the area. And, in fact, if you look at studies from across Canada, in some cases, they actually increase the number of people going to businesses.”
While acknowledging bike lanes are welcome, you'd be hard pressed to convince Langille they'll help his business in the long run.
"I go to the gym three days a week - and I've never, ever - honest to god, I've never, ever seen anybody on it!” Langille said of the bike lane on Devonshire Avenue.
The city says the first of four drop-in style public engagement sessions will take place Tuesday, starting at noon at the Halifax Forum.
Officials expect a big turnout, because, anytime you talk about local-parking, people usually have a lot to say.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Bruce Frisko.