Drivers will soon be able to gaze upon the ocean atop the Beacon Hill summit after the City of Victoria decided to reopen the road to improve accessibility for seniors and people with disabilities.
Starting Saturday, November 28, the Beacon Hill Loop that connects Circle Drive to the highest point in the park will reopen to vehicles after a temporary closure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last spring, the City made temporarily banned vehicle access in Beacon Hill Park to create a pedestrian and cyclist pathway to increase opportunities for physical distancing while enjoying the park and staying active.
Council directed staff to seek input from accessibility organizations including the Accessibility Working Group and report back after the summer to consider any changes to the COVID traffic plan within the park.
Based on the results of that targeted engagement, and feedback received from residents, the City says it decided to reopen the Beacon Hill Loop while maintaining some of the other temporary closures.
Not all roads through the park are reopening. Road access on Arbutus Way, Bridge Way and Chestnut Row is still closed to the public and is only open for emergency and service vehicles.
Victoria’s mayor says the decision to only partially reopen vehicle access is the best of both worlds.
“We heard loud and clear that seniors and people with disabilities take great joy from being able to visit the summit of the park,” said Mayor Lisa Helps.
“By reopening the road, we are able to improve accessibility and enjoyment of the park for all, while continuing to provide opportunities for physical distancing and staying active.”
The city says accessible parking areas that were added in the spring will remain in place.
Parking lots remain open at Heywood Road, Circle Drive and Nursery Road, and street parking remains available along Douglas Street, Cook Street and Dallas Road.