St. Matthews road improvements may force business to move, owner says – Manitoba

A St. James business owner says road improvements that include bike lanes have him looking to relocate his shop.

Rick Wagner, owner of Signmeister on St. Matthews Avenue, said while the road is in desperate need of repair, the plan to add protected bike lanes on either side means the road will be reduced by one eastbound lane.

That’s the on-street parking lane in front of his business.

“There’s about six spots in front of our business and just past our business there’s a few more,” Wagner said. “Typically on a busy day, almost all of those spots are used up.”

Wagner said he received a letter from the city about the repairs to the street two months ago. When his landlord asked for the plans, they discovered in addition to the replacement of the sewer and water systems, St. Matthews will shrink to three lanes.

“We were confused why they didn’t mention anything like [the bike lanes] to us.”

Wagner said he and his landlord met with St. James-Assiniboia Coun. Scott Gillingham and representatives from the planning and property department, and suggested ways the lane could be kept, including installing a bike lane on only one side of the street. However, the city did not modify the plans, Wagner said.

“Our concern is they’re leaving parking across the street, but there’s a boulevard there and we have couriers coming in with heavy packages. We thought that would probably be a little bit dangerous for them, walking across the street.”

Gillingham confirmed there was a meeting with business owners to explain the plans, but the city has a mandate to build protected bike lanes when new construction happens, and two bike lanes are necessary.

“From my understanding, it has to do with the predictability of traffic flow for the bikes, similar to drivers,” Gillingham said. “Engineers try to avoid having bicyclists having to cross the street to get to the bike path. It becomes a safety issue for cyclists and for drivers.”

The bike lanes on St….

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