LONDON, ONT. -- Less than a week after city hall opened additional cyclist and pedestrian space along Richmond Row— the separated lane has been redesigned.

Sections of the ‘Active Transportation Lane’ are now reopened to vehicles.

Originally six consecutive blocks from Mill Street to Kent Street, city crews have removed pylons to reopen several loading zones and a London Transit bus stop.

“This was a response to working with individual businesses to find out what their specific needs were. And also with Downtown London,” explains Manager of Downtown Projects Jim Yanchula.

On June 19, city hall suddenly closed the southbound curb lane to permit enough space for physical distancing on the sidewalk.

But many merchants complained that they were not consulted about the temporary elimination of parking spots and loading zones utilized for takeout and delivery.

“I think it is still a bit of a challenge the way it’s designed now,” says Diane Spalding of Daisy Flowers.

She feels the revisions haven’t gone far enough.

“It’s difficult when you are driving,” adds Spalding. “Even when I was driving, everybody is trying to get into that one lane when it’s busy.”

Last week cycling advocate Shelley Carr praised the six-block lane, suggesting it be extended further south.

She now says the start and stop nature of the redesigned lanes is evidence that merchants don’t understand that active transportation lanes bring customers to their front doors.

“There’s going to be bumps,” says Carr. “It’s really difficult for businesses to understand that people don’t just drive to their business. They also travel by bicycle, scooter, and walk.”

According to city hall, vehicles can only spend brief periods in the loading zones that interrupt the bike and pedestrian lane.

Yanchula adds, “Parking in that lane is still prohibited. So it’s a little bit of share the time, and share the space, when you share the lane.”