A customer walks into Scott Attrill’s barbershop.
“I’ll be right with you,” the business owner says.
“No, I’m here to sign the petition,” said John McKay, a regular at Floyd’s Hairstyling for Men on Admirals Road.
Attrill had collected nearly 300 names on a petition by late last week in his quest to save his shop from possible upgrades to Admirals Road. Construction, lane reductions and new bike lanes outside the barbershop will eradicate the side-street parking he considers key to his business.
“This place won’t survive. It’ll be the end of Floyd’s,” said Attrill, who sees bike lanes as unnecessary and lane reductions as impediments to traffic flow.
Admirals is often thick with commuter traffic from nearby CFB Esquimalt and the Esquimalt Graving Dock, as indicated in a 2011 traffic study that found the road hosts more than 4.6 million vehicle trips annually.
Staff got the green light in May to apply for $2.8 million in federal gas tax funding from the Union of British Columbia Municipalities to pay for the upgrades. A similar application by Esquimalt was denied last year.
Under the conceptual plan, Admirals Road between Lyall Street and Colville Road will be downsized from four lanes to two. Bikes lanes, traffic-calming islands, storm-water collection systems, new bus shelters and a layer of asphalt would be added between Lyall and Maplebank Road.
“The main focus of the project is to initiate the bike lanes (and the storm-water system),” said Will Wieler, Esquimalt acting director of engineering and public works.
As for the islands, some would be for traffic-calming, others for beautification, he says.
Coun. Bob McKie supports storm-water upgrades and new paving on Admirals, but worries about the impact of lane reductions and new bike lanes on motorists and businesses.
“Our beauty is not helping transportation,” he said.
Responding to Attrill’s outrage that businesses have not yet been consulted, staff say they are following the rules.
“If and when we receive funding, we will initiate public input, do preliminary design, likely go back to (get) public input again, before we finalize anything,” Wieler said. “We don’t try to spend an exorbitant amount of money on a long-shot grant application.”
The township’s funding application must be submitted to the UBCM by Aug. 31.
Attrill has an online petition on his Facebook page, “I hate flower pots in the middle of our roads.”