WORK begins this fall on the last link of a bike lane on one of North Vancouver’s busiest east-west routes, but some small businesses are dreading the loss of three precious parking spots that will be gone once the project is done.
The City of North Vancouver has been installing a continuous bike lane along Esplanade over the last few years, and the section between Lonsdale Avenue and Chesterfield Street, on the south side of Esplanade, is the final portion of road in the route, according to city engineer Douglas Pope.
The road needs to be widened so the bike lane can be added without sacrificing any vehicle lanes, he said. The sidewalk will also be made narrower in places as a consequence.
The three parking spots that will be removed are in front of an office building that also houses five small businesses on the ground. The car parking stalls will be replaced with two spots for motorcycles and scooters.
“The biggest impact of this project, and it’s not significant, is that we’re losing three parking stalls, one of which is sub-standard right now,” said Pope, who pointed out this was the only parking that would be lost in the entire two-block stretch of revamped road.
But to optometrist Noozhan Ashraf, the three spots are a big deal. Ashraf owns Quayside Optometry, and he said his customers already complain that parking is tough to find near his office.
“We don’t want to lose those three parking stalls in front . . . I am a member of the health care profession; I serve people,” said Ashraf, who plans to complain to the city. “I don’t want them to (get a ticket) for me to see their eyes or get their medication or get their glasses.”
Takuya Iwaki, a manager at Yohachi Sushi, also said the spots were helpful to his business, because customers often use them when they stop to pick up take-out.
The businesses will be informed of the project by mail, and again just before work begins, said Pope. Customers will have access to the businesses during the construction, which will take about six weeks.
“We’ll be working with the contractor to minimize disruption to the businesses,” said Pope.
In addition to the bike lane, the project will see the sidewalk safety improved, as pavement that has been heaved up by tree routes will be replaced.
The trees that are already there will be put back and new ones will be added.