07/04/2013 09:36 EDT | Updated 09/03/2013 05:12 EDT

Busy bike route shut to vehicle traffic

City of Vancouver road crews began closing off sections of a popular bike route to motor vehicles this week, without much apparent warning to those who live or work nearby.

Workers put up signs along parts of the Adanac bikeway along Union Street, indicating the areas were closed for entry to all except cyclists. Crews also installed temporary barriers around concrete forms in several spots along the middle of the street.

Changes to this route have been contentious before. Last month, city council opted to hold off on closing Union Street to cars and trucks at Gore Avenue as part of a bikeway improvement plan. But the city says this change is different.

The city's transportation department says the partial closures of Union Street are traffic calming measures that accompany the project to rebuild Powell Street into an overpass in the area of Raymur Avenue. Powell Street, a busy commuter route, was closed to all traffic between Clark Drive and Hawks Avenue at the end of June.

Chris Luehmann, an autobody technician, works along the bike route and is concerned about the impact the closures will have.

"It's going to be more difficult for our customers to navigate the area," he said. "Basically, it's just going to be more complicated for them to find our shop."

Jerry Dobrovolny, the city's director of transportation, says consultation was done with businesses in the area while the Powell Street upgrade was in the discussion phase. He says the impact of the closures will be monitored and re-evaluated throughout the year.