Duncan Wilcock


e-Bikes: No Traffic.
Easy Parking. Join the Fun!

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Bike Lanes are Good for Business in North Van: Lynn Valley Road, and everywhere

In early June, at Lynn Valley Road & Dempsey, I chatted with a group of about 10–12 retirees on ebikes about the planned bike lane, and I was surprised they were not in favour of the second phase of the mobility lane on Lynn Valley Road.

Two boys biking - The're not in the way of you driving, you're not in the way of them living

In fact - only one person spoke -  but she expressed concern about The End of the Line store & cafĂ© – “I want that store to remain open” – or something similar, that others in the group didn't contradict. And I thought:

  • Wait: don’t you know bikes are good for business?    I guess she didn’t.

Why bikes are good for business - this is well established:

Improving access to people on bikes, people on transit, and people walking is good for business. This has been proven many times locally and globally, including by the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DVBIA) - who initially opposed bike lanes a couple of decades ago, and have since become strong advocates in favour of mobility lanes – because they increase foot-traffic, and result in healthier retail business.

Here are some of the facts, as I see them:

1. End of the line is not sustained by a few parking spots. It’s people - not cars - that go to the shop. The more people that go there - the better the business will do - which is obvious, but in our car-centric world it clearly needs underlining. Specifically - many more people who come in cars park in:
  • Kilmer parking lot
  • Dempsey Road
  • spots at Lynn Headwaters.
  • and more 
2. However, there is only so-much space on any road and two or three spots for cars aren’t going to move the needle. What will move the needle for this store is enabling more people to come. The only ways to do that are: 
a. Better Access via Transit = Buses
b. Better mobility lanes, so that:
    • More people can feel safe travelling there by bike - especially those who are not yet biking
    • More people know there is a safe bike route so that they feel safe biking there

This is why mobility lanes that are obvious, simple, and “feel safe” are so important. The mobility lanes aren’t for me - they are most important for the people who are not yet biking there, so that they feel safe to start. Moreover, so they are safe for all the 15 to 25 year olds on Lime bikes - our kids! that are already using so many Lime bikes. That is why great mobility lanes, and more frequent bus-service - will bring more people, and be better for businesses across North Vancouver. Even better, they will help reduce our infamous traffic-jams.


Too Many People?

Now if you feel “there are already too many people there” - that’s another topic. I suggest you spend some time reflecting on equality. Specifically: Why are you so special you deserve to access all that nature, when another person travelling there by bus, bike or otherwise doesn’t deserve the same access and privilege you enjoy? A topic for another day.


The bottom line for End of the Line: Better mobility lanes are not going to cause it to close - quite the opposite!

The most surprising thing about the interaction to me was to find a group of people like me - who just enjoy getting around on their bike and ebike, and - whose leader at least - didn’t understand how good mobility lanes are for all road users:

  • people who walk
  • people who take transit
  • people who roll in other ways (eg. 4-wheel mobility scooters)
  • people who bike
  • yes - even people who use cars & trucks (less cars on the road, because of the above!)

If you don’t believe me that mobility lanes are good for business, here are three other sources:

  1. The downtown Vancouver business association figured out mobility lanes were good for business
  2. This Canadian YouTube guy (@NotJustBikes) will help you see our urban & suburban choices differently.
  3. It’s not just Canada. Here is a 2023 Wired article recapping that “...installing bike lanes and making streets more pedestrian-friendly boosts the economic fortunes of a place.

My family & I love End of the Line. The coffee & treats are great, and the gift section is simply amazing for all kinds of occasions. We often show up there on our bikes, and I look forward to seeing you there soon.

Duncan Wilcock
Lynn Valley
I ride & love my e-bike to get around town. No traffic & no trouble parking – join the fun!