Council not listening

As a business owner on Martin St I can tell you the proposed bike lanes are not at all a welcome feature to this neighbourhood, and as far as I can tell, lack any common sense from a planning and safety perspective.

The City of Penticton has chosen this time to gauge feedback from businesses and residents along the proposed Lake-to-Lake Cycling route. They have stated that “One of the reasons the Martin St. option was selected for the downtown section was to minimize the impact on parking”. A two-way cycle track (north/south lanes) on Martin St., will remove over 90 spaces on the west side, but it’s ok, parking will be maintained on the east side. Obviously those at the city or whoever is designing this project are not listening and didn’t take into consideration those business that have patio’s along the east side of the road that already remove parking from the area, and by the way, cost those businesses about $300-$500 every year to have! This is on top of the approximate $7,000- $9,000 annual property taxes depending on your business.

I don’t think it would be a shock to anyone now that patios are prime real estate due to Covid 19 and that in all likelihood you will see an increase in applications for anyone who operates a bar or restaurant downtown. Tug’s Taphouse, Pasta Factory, Slackwater and Old Order already have them on the west side of the street on the 200 block alone with parking stalls removed. Not to mention how this impacts Time Winery, as I understand they would have to give up their patio on the east side. In addition, everyone that now uses the CIBC parking lot for free, how long will it be until they decide to start towing those who are not using their services? I have seen it happen on a busy Farmers Market Saturday and it’s not fun to watch!

The other glaring issue is traffic and of course safety concerns. On Sept 28, Gord Goble, who rode the entire route on a quiet Sunday, wrote about his experience in Penticton Now and stated “cars are still a thing (on Martin St). And although traffic lanes wouldn't be impacted (which is not true), parking, which is already tight, would be eliminated on that side. Furthermore, cyclists would be rolling north and south while vehicular traffic is primarily moving south.” And “with bikes, pedestrians, and cars all doing their thing in an already congested strip, the City will have to come up with some snappy logistics to make it all work smoothly.” Although I appreciated his comments, it doesn’t begin to describe how traffic will be impacted. Someone in a vehicle on Nanaimo St trying to cross Martin St on a green light will deal with two lanes of bike traffic going in opposite directions, who by the way, have the right of way, according to the City webpage on the subject and this doesn’t include transit bus pick up and drop off, delivery trucks, senior citizens on scooters or pedestrians! Urban Cycling Director Matt Hopkins, called“Martin Street particularly dangerous for cyclists...” and cyclists have already spoken up according to City Engineer Ian Chapman, who said “cyclists believe that Winnipeg St. would provide a better experience”.

Get real councillors and listen up, this is a bad idea, poorly thought out, ill conceived, and once again at the expense of downtown businesses...

Graham Martens, Penticton

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