TIME Winery in downtown Penticton, B.C., is gearing up for another busy tourism season, but it hopes the city will put the brakes on a plan to install a bike lane outside its front doors.
The lane is one of two suggested options for the downtown portion of the proposed lake-to-lake cycling route, connecting Okanagan and Skaha lakes, which could impact the urban winery’s 50-seat street side patio on Martin Street.
“If that were to be the case, that would obviously extremely affect our business,” said Encore Vineyards president Christa-Lee McWatters, representing the company that owns the winery.
“As we know, any business in the Okanagan that has a patio, we kind of rely on that in the summer.”
The two proposed downtown options include a two-way cycle track to replace the parking on the west side of Martin Street, or protected bicycle lanes to replace the parking on both sides of Winnipeg Street.
“The Martin Street option is favoured as it is direct and would have the least impact on parking and traffic, but we also heard from many cyclists who believe that Winnipeg Street would provide a better experience,” said City of Penticton engineer Ian Chapman.
“We’d like to have a further discussion with residents and businesses in the downtown before we land on the preferred option.”
The proposal is endorsed by the Penticton and Area Cycling Association, with Martin Street its favoured route.
“It is the most central of the two downtown options that have been proposed. We are only one block from Main Street, we are one block from Winnipeg, so that’s number one,” said urban cycling director Matt Hopkins.
But some business owners along the proposed Martin Street route are concerned about the loss of street parking.
“We will be losing access to right in front of businesses for parking and convenience, so that will definitely be a challenge for our businesses,” said Downtown Penticton Association executive director Lynn Allin.
“Generally, everyone is excited about having bike lanes in Penticton. It will make us a little more vibrant, a little more exciting downtown, but we have to find the right place,” she said.
As for TIME winery’s patio, Chapman said it may have to be removed if the city proceeds with the Martin Street bike lane plan as is, but the city and business may be able to find a solution.
Chapman stresses many options are still on the table. He said no cost estimates are available, and there is no timeline on when construction could begin.
“One of the necessities of installing a bike lane is that something needs to be removed in order for that bike lane to be installed, and the parking is the most likely target,” Chapman said.
He encourages stakeholders to attend two upcoming public meetings on March 25 and 26.
More information can be found at shapeyourcitypenticton.ca