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Business owners oppose City of Vancouver proposal for Davie Street

Online survey asks residents if they support widening sidewalks, removing parking spots
Parking spots on Davie Street could be removed if residents support widening sidewalks

Davie Street business owners oppose potential changes to the neighbourhood’s streetscape, which the City of Vancouver is considering.

The city’s online survey, available until Feb. 29, asks residents whether they support widening sidewalks, removing parking spots and reducing the number of bus stops on Davie Street between Burrard Street and west of Jervis Street.

“They want to take out between 30 and 40 parking spots on my street alone,” Marquis Wine Cellars owner John Clerides told BIV.

“Why are they picking on Davie Street?”

Clerides said he has worked for decades to build his business to be a destination store, where customers can come and spend time looking at wines before buying cases of wine and then carrying the wine to their vehicles.

A case of wine can weigh about 18 kilograms, which is too heavy for customers to carry while walking down the street, he said.

Across the street, Fountainhead Pub owner Michel Duprat told BIV he was also concerned about the street having fewer parking spots, although he could see a benefit in wider sidewalks fostering a sense of community.

One fear, he said, is that would likely take the city a long time to complete work widening the sidewalks if the project gets the go-ahead.

The city’s website lists “2025-2027+” as being the likely timeline for the work.

“If they could just put it down in a day or two, that would be great, but that's never the case with the city,” Duprat said. “It looks like a pretty big undertaking, so that's got us a little nervous.”

Duprat stressed that his comments were from his perspective as a business owner, and not on behalf of the West End Business Improvement Association, where he is a director.

A few businesses west of the Fountainhead Pub, at Abasa Optical, co-owner Azra Kamrudin told BIV that she is concerned about the proposal to reduce the number of bus stops on the strip.

The city asks survey participants what they think of having the city remove the bus stop east of Thurlow Street, on Davie Street, in front of the Denny’s restaurant and the one west of Thurlow Street, on Davie Street, by the Shoppers Drug Mart.

The city would also remove bus stops on either side of Jervis Street, on Davie Street.

It would then upgrade and enlarge bus stops on either side of Bute Street, on Davie Street.

The city’s rationale for the move, according to its survey, is that “removing these two stops and upgrading the Bute Street stops would help optimize the spacing between them.”

The city then explains that condensing the number of bus stops would mean quicker trips because of fewer stops and starts, while expanded space for bus stops at Bute Street would provide more “passenger comfort.”

Kamrudin is not convinced and said older residents may find it a challenge to walk further distances.

The closest bus stop to her store for people travelling east would be the one in front of the Denny’s restaurant.

Those people would have to travel west of Burrard Street to get off the bus in order to go to her store.

“Widening the sidewalks would probably be detrimental to businesses because it would stop people from parking, and coming in,” she said.

Kamrudin estimated that about 30 per cent to 35 per cent of her customers drive and rely on parking spots.

Two blocks west of Kamrudin’s store, between Bute and Jervis streets is the Davie Art Shop, which Philip Tran has owned since 1987.

He is similarly concerned that eliminating parking on the street would make it more challenging for his customers, who buy framed art. Those purchases can be heavy to carry long distances, he said.

There is a small parking lot behind Tran’s store but its spots are often full, and reducing street parking would make those spots even more in demand.

“My business is based on people being able to park and pick up the merchandise,” he said. “The parking in the front of the shop is very important to us.”