Letter to the Editor: More about those bike corrals

Re: Wellington West first in Ottawa to adopt new bike corrals, July 10.

Dear Editor,

My name is Terry Fitzpatrick and along with my brother Randy we own and operate Petit Bill’s Bistro at 1293 Wellington St. West.

Terry Fitzpatrick, of Petit Bill’s Bistro. Photo by Andrea Tomkins.
Terry Fitzpatrick, of Petit Bill’s Bistro. Photo by Andrea Tomkins.

I thought I would pass along our views on the bike corral placed in our area. For most of us, the street is our ‘parking lot’ and in late 2008 when the beautification of the neighbourhood was finally finished we lost 8-10 parking spots between Island Park and Holland. Losing another spot may seem like a small thing, but I can assure you it’s not. Quite a few visitors to the area are in and out in a few minutes, picking up dry cleaning, bagels, take out, etc. and even one spot helps to alleviate some of the parking woes throughout the day.

We’re not against the corral, or attracting new people to the area, but we don’t believe that it’s necessary to lose a parking spot in an area that has such an issue with parking already. The corral could easily fit directly behind on the sidewalk without interfering with parking and pedestrians or simply place it at the corner at Clarendon and Wellington.

We understand it’s hard to be all things to all people, but along with some other business owners, we were disappointed with the BIA’s communication to the businesses at large about the issue. Since then however, Zachary Dayler from the West Wellington BIA has been available and responsive to our inquiries. On the other hand, there has been some confusion throughout the process.

Weather is a factor year round and when it rains we have more auto traffic, less parking and an empty corral. From my experience with the corral so far, it hasn’t been used enough to warrant the loss of a parking spot. We see a ratio of one bike for every ten cars, we have over 550 posts to accommodate bikes and less than a third of that number of parking spots for cars. Cars are allowed to park for 90 minutes west of Parkdale, and two hours east, but bikes have no limit on time spent in the area. I think the bikes already have a huge advantage even before the corral was placed.

Considering the families in the area, and that we don’t have designated spots for the elderly or handicapped, why would we give up a spot for a couple of bikes that could easily park on the posts?

As progressive as it may seem to start removing parking in favour of bikes, we still need to make the area welcoming to everyone. We can certainly do that with a simple compromise and I’m sure that we can accommodate everyone.

Thank you,

Terry Fitzpatrick
Petit Bill’s Bistro

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