As Penticton, B.C.’s Lake-to-Lake bike route nears completion, the owners of a business located along the final phase are concerned with the impact that the project will have on their shop.
For the last 27 years, Dan and Tracy Fehr have welcomed hundreds of customers into their store, the South Main Market, each day.
“We get quite a few customers, and our usual customer count is about 400 to 500 a day. The city did put up a camera to do a count of the traffic flow [to our store], this was in October, and they came up with a traffic flow of 388,” said Dan.
“I think they would have to be very creative for us to be able to keep our business viable. And have the customers be able to come and go and the delivery drivers come and go as we have been.”
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South Main Market currently has eight parking spaces and flat curbs in front of the store so that drivers have room to back in or out.
There is also room for large trucks, including semi-trucks, to make deliveries to the store or park across the street.
“[The bike lane] does not seem like it’ll be very useful for the delivery drivers for sure and with the customers, I believe that if there isn’t a spot open then they will just keep on driving to the next available store,” said Dan.
Although the designs are not finalized, the Fehrs say the city has proposed a one-way parking lot with fewer than the current eight parking spaces in front of the store.
The street parking across the road would also be removed to accommodate the new bike lane.
“The city has given us one drawing and so far it looks like it is going to be an entrance and five parking stalls and an exit so that the people will not be able to back in and turn,” said Tracy.
“We are very busy, we need our parking lot, our parking lot is often eight spots full plus road parking is also used. We are obviously extremely concerned about the effect this will have on our business.”
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Currently, the completed sections of the bike lane include barriers and lots of signage which Tracy Fehr says would further impact their business.
“Those physical barriers — we have a … semi-truck that comes right in through, into our parking lot and he will not have the turning radius. We’ve talked to him before, and he will not have the turning radius to get in,” Fehr said.
“Also, a lot of our delivery trucks or larger ones they park across the street and there will not be any across-the-street parking. So, we’re not sure where our delivery trucks will be able to park there.”
According to Penticton’s general manager of Infrastructure, Kristen Dixon, the city has not committed to the current designs, and discussions with the market are ongoing.
“We totally understand. It is a very successful, very fantastic business and it’s an amenity to the community in the area. We are working very closely with them,” said Dixon.
“Everything is still just in the design process. So, we’re continuing to meet with them, we’re continuing to explore options. We know the loading and unloading is an issue, and we know the access to the parking areas is an issue.
“We’re trying to look at the entire area and find solutions that are going to work for everyone.”
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Just over half of the Lake-to-Lake bike route has been completed. Work on the next phase, which will bring the route to Skaha Lake, is expected to begin later this year.
“It’s been completed now all the way from Okanagan Lake to the intersection of Atkinson Street with Kinney Avenue, so that’s an exciting milestone for the project,” said Dixon.
“With the proposed financial plan that will be coming forward to council soon for approval. That does include funding for it through 2023 and 2024 to finish that last section. We’ve also applied for a federal grant for that section.”
The city is hoping to have the bike route fully completed by 2024.
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