Store owners are greedy. It’s hard to blame them, since the business they do is directly proportional to the money they get. A few slow weeks could put them out of business.
But the store owners are very pro-car. They want parking spaces. And when those spaces are taken away for reserved bus lanes on Park Ave., expanded sidewalks on Decarie Blvd., or a bike path on de Maisonneuve Blvd., they start screaming bloody murder. No thought is given to the idea that increased public transit might compensate for the loss of parking spaces, or to the idea that beautification of the area might encourage pedestrian traffic.
Instead, we get sky-is-falling exaggerations like this one:
“It could turn downtown into a ghost town,” he warned.
Really? A ghost town? When has a bicycle path ever turned a metropolis’s downtown into a ghost town?
“It’s an open-air shopping mall and people, especially higher-end customers, want to get there by car.”
“Who wants to go to a high-end restaurant by bus or by métro?” Parasuco asked.
Oh. Think of the embarrassment that would ensue if a high-end customer had to take – gasp – public transit!
Or they could just take a cab.
The problem with downtown parking is already there. People with cars go to Wal-Mart and Loblaws where ample parking is available. They park at strip-malls and go into the stores there. A trip downtown means circling for half an hour looking for a space at a meter.
The solution to this problem isn’t to encourage more cars, which is an entirely unsustainable idea. It’s to encourage public transit, walking and cycling as alternative methods of getting around.
Turn downtown into a pedestrian haven, and suddenly people are walking around doing a lot of shopping.
UPDATE: The Gazette agrees with me. And so does letter-writer Kim Smart.