Business community rejects councillor’s ‘car-free’ plan
Lyn Hellyar, executive director of the West End BIA, believes her association isn’t keen to close streets over several Sundays.
“Why would any merchants want our streets closed for a day for 12 Sundays?” she said. “It depends, I guess, if they feel it brings business or doesn’t and we haven’t asked our members that yet.”
And, of course, when they are asked the exact wording of the question will be really important – and would you trust Lyn Hellyar to word it objectively?
To quote myself “Cities are supposed to be about people interacting – not cars blasting through as fast they can.” I wrote that about a plan to close parts of Broadway in New York City. The Vancouver proposal is much more modest – and refers to a proposal to close a few shopping streets on Sundays – a move which has already increased takings on the streets where it has been tried. Of course, Lyn Hellyar also appears ignorant of that – and of the many other cities where car free streets work well.
I started a group on flickr for pictures of such places – and the variety and geographic distribution of them is stunning. This picture happens to be of “Davie Day” – a daylong car free street festival at Davie Village in Downtown Vancouver last year. And, by all accounts, was very successful. But of course when you are dealing with entrenched opinion moulders like BIA leaders and journalists who work for “the man” do not expect anything like facts or experience get in the way of the usual spin.