Bike lanes to ‘cost jobs, ruin traders’

RAGING: Business owners Domenica and Vincent Albanese are some of the Belmont traders disappointed with council's bike lane approval.

By Natalee Kerr

A Belmont trader fears “businesses will close their doors” after council endorsed new bike lanes through High St.

The bike lanes received approval from Geelong’s council last month, however local traders are “filthy” about the decision, according to tourism operator Stuart Coffield.

“It will end up costing jobs because businesses will close or move,” Mr Coffield said.

“We rely on car traffic, but if the carparks are no longer there people will just drive by.”

Mr Coffield labelled the project as “disgraceful” and questioned who the bike lanes would appeal to.

“It doesn’t understand normal rationale, it’s not like it’s being built on flat road,” he said.

“I consider myself reasonably fit but I wouldn’t be able to ride up that huge hill, and I don’t think many other people would be able to either.

“I’ve been here for 26 years and I see one bike rider a day. It’s just ridiculous; there is absolutely no common sense to it.”

Council voted 6-3 to build the controversial one-way separated bike lanes which involve the removal of 30 out of 83 car parking spaces on High St.

Cycling advocate and former Bike Safe president Barton van Laar welcomed council’s decision.

“While some car parks will be lost it shouldn’t be of a huge concern. There is plenty of off-street parking in High St that is often vacant,” Mr van Laar said.

“Retailing is changing everywhere, so we need to move with the times.”

Mr van Laar said the bike lines would “encourage more people to Belmont”.

“It’s much more than a bike path, it’s a whole rejuvenation,” he said.

“In other cities across Australia and around the world it has been shown the retail precincts can be enlivened by bike lanes.

“The right decision has been made and now we get on with it.”

TAC previously threatened to withdraw its $4.7 million funding for the bike network if council selected another route.

Your first stop before buying a home. View the whole picture.