Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Sarah Simpson, The Citizen
Published: Friday, August 06, 2010
Those headed to the Duncan Garage can leave their cars at home now that the City of Duncan has installed a dedicated bicycle parking spot right outside the big yellow building.
"By all accounts, so far it's a hit," said Mayor Phil Kent.
He said the bike rack had been located at another spot in town and was being underutilized. Council jumped at the chance to repurpose it in a high traffic location.
That's just what Aaron Bichard of Cowichan Recyclists, this year's Bike to Work Week coordinator, wants to hear.
He said he hopes the initiative continues.
"It's encouraging to see the City take an important step toward building cycling infrastructure by providing dedicated bike parking, especially in a place that's frequented by cyclists," he said Tuesday. "The way to make it safer on the roads for cyclists is to encourage more people to cycle, and bike racks are a good first step in acknowledging that cyclists exist in the community."
There's never enough bike parking spots said the Duncan Business Improvement Area Society spokesperson MaryAnn Hartley.
"I know that there are some on Station Street that even at 7:30 in the morning, seem to be well used. The more there are, the more it encourages people to ride to downtown," she said.
Not to be greedy but, "More, more, more!" said Nicolette Genier, co-owner of The Community Farm Store inside the Garage.
"We've been begging and really wanting bike parking for a long time," she said. "I'm sure darn happy to see the beginning of bike parking. We would like everybody to ride their bikes downtown. Lots of our staff have been wanting to ride their bikes to work and we actually have nowhere to park them."
"She said with 300-500 customers a day coming through the store, and upwards of 20 staff working at any given time, there's a load of potential at the Garage to reduce vehicle traffic.
"We really want to encourage it, and when we see lots more bike parking then I think we'll go on a real rampage and really start promoting the whole business of 'leave your car at home, you don't need one anyway.'"
Genier said the folks in the building are "just waiting for Phil Kent to turn the whole town into a pedestrian and bike-friendly place to live.
What's more, no vehicle parking spots were lost.
"There was about half a space there that couldn't be used as parking space, so we used that," said Kent.
That's a good thing, said Genier, as she understands the need to maintain a certain level of car parking downtown.
She'd like to see even more bike racks, perhaps in a covered space with some benches, in Charles Hoey Park.
"I think that would work really well," she said.
All in good time, said the Mayor. He noted a more comprehensive active transportation infrastructure plan, which will include other Cowichan local governments, is in the works.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
A wheely good idea
Pedal-powered recycling will soon be coming to downtown Victoria businesses as Duncan-based Cowichan Recyclists prepares to expand its services to the South Island.
In partnership with local recyclers reFUSE — which offers big-bin recycling and drop-off at its Government Street depot — the Recyclists plan to offer zero-emission bike-and-trailer recycling pick-up around the downtown core.
Recylists’ website shows the company currently has more than 80 commercial clients in Duncan alone and company co-founder Aaron Bichard says they plan to fill a gap in services in Victoria.
“What is currently being offered out there by the bigger companies is that you have to be a certain size business and have a certain amount of space to warrant the service,” he said.
“You need to have space to put bins outside in the alleyways and you have to be generating enough volume that it would be cost-effective to order one of those big bins.
“Whereas we deal with, typically, smaller business, so businesses that maybe don’t have the space to be holding on to their recycling, the businesses that might not be generating as much volume, and we deal with things that aren’t typically picked by the regular services.”
Bichard says Victoria is ready for the Recyclists.
“We’ve done some surveys and questionnaires down in the Victoria business community, and so it looks like they are looking for recycling solutions for smaller businesses—and especially green solutions that are emission-free.
“Victoria’s a very bicycle-friendly city and a city that’s looking for the green eco-friendly option.”
— Jason Youmans