City of Powell River will re-examine the bike lane and parking conflict in front of Mitchell Brothers store in Cranberry.
As part of the study, city staff will also examine traffic speeds along the corridor from Mitchell Brothers to DA Evans Park.
At the Tuesday, April 2, committee of the whole meeting, mayor Dave Formosa said he wanted to bring back the matter of parking in the bike lanes near Mitchell Brothers.
“I’ve been speaking with the owner of the store and the manager,” said Formosa. “The folks at the store really wish we would reconsider our deletion of this area to park.”
Formosa said he was suggesting the matter comes back and that if council wants what is known as a sharrow, the road could feature both parking and a bike lane.
“I would like to bring it back to council for discussion and a vote on whether we could make this a sharrow,” said Formosa.
The mayor said he had heard that the Mitchell Brothers owner did not have a problem with the bike lane, but that was not the issue.
“I think he had a big problem but he was just afraid to say anything,” said Formosa. “He has a brand new business and he’s trying to make ends meet and make payroll.”
Mitchell Brothers manager Matt Rekve said the frustrating part for the store is that the busy season is coming.
“We are not against cyclists; we just want to share that space and get our parking back,” said Rekve. “We would really like to get this dealt with sooner than later.”
Councillor CaroleAnn Leishman said this area was part of the municipal cycling plan and work has been done in consultation with Powell River Cycling Association. She said she thinks the cycling association should be contacted because the issue is bigger than debating the matter at council.
“There’s a reason for the bike lane and it’s for safety of cyclists,” said Leishman. “I understand the concerns absolutely but having a sharrow on a busy road like Manson [Avenue], I know that as a cyclist when you go around cars, people open their car doors on busy streets.”
Formosa said there are areas of the city where cars and cyclists interact all of the time.
“There’s no bike lane,” he added. “You use your skills as a driver or cyclist to keep yourself safe.”
Councillor Jim Palm said there are not that many bicycles on the road and there are many cars, and there are a lot of visitors to Mitchell Brothers.
“We have to make this work for everyone and I don’t agree that this is a cycling association issue,” said Palm. “They were in on the grant writing and got what they were looking for with bike lanes along that avenue, but it’s our job to look after our businesses and to look after our cyclists. History has always worked in terms of safety on the road. If you watch what you are doing, like we have for years and decades, you can make it work.”
Councillor Cindy Elliott said she did not have an issue with revisiting whether there should be a sharrow. She also wanted to tack on speed limits in that area.
“In my opinion, it isn’t safe, whether there’s a bike lane there, parking or sharing, there is no way of making that particular area of town safe, with trucks going through, without lowering the speed limit,” said Elliott. “Nobody should be going over 30 kilometres per hour in that area. It’s all part and parcel of the safety issue.”
Formosa said adjustments have been made to speed limits on the side roads, and asked if Elliott was suggesting a reduction in speed limits from DA Evans Park to the liquor store and from the liquor store past Mitchell Brothers to a 30-kilometre-per-hour zone. Elliott responded affirmatively.
The committee gave consent that staff return to committee of the whole with options on implementing vehicle parking and the use of sharrows across from Mitchell Brothers store on Manson Avenue, in consultation with the Powell River Cycling Association and the store owner, and staff review lowering the speed limit in the commercial area from DA Evans Park through to Mitchell Brothers store.