What Happens When Mom and Pop Shops Depend on Cars?

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A reader sent this photo to Streetsblog soon after we reported that Park Slope restaurateur Irene Lo Re had asked for the Fifth Avenue bike lane to be removed. According to Lo Re’s theory, which few other merchants seem to buy, the bike lane was causing delivery costs to rise. We saw this photo and thought there might be some sort of detente on the horizon. Maybe someone had reasoned with Lo Re and convinced her that a nice environment for pedestrians and cyclists is great for business at Aunt Suzie’s.

Apparently not. Lo Re appeared in the Post today, up in arms about the Park Smart pilot on Fifth Avenue, accusing the city of "killing small businesses." Park Smart charges motorists higher rates to park during the midday peak, freeing up curb space so drivers don’t spend so much time cruising for spots. Also appearing in the Post story were Joe Leopoldi, whose hardware store is not even located in the Park Smart zone, and Judi Pheiffer of Bob and Judi’s Coolectibles. These are the same handful of merchants Lo Re mentioned by name when I asked her who was opposed to the bike lane.

Catering to the parking whims of drivers strikes me as a poor business strategy for merchants in walkable, transit-rich Park Slope. It sure didn’t guarantee success for Tempo, a dining establishment on Fifth and Carroll. They closed their doors for good a few days after I took this photo right outside their entrance.

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