‘I’d like to see parking a lot more difficult to find’: Urban change consultant says parking ‘drives’ car usage

'I'd like to see parking a lot more difficult to find': Urban change consultant says parking 'drives' car usage
WatchWe've come to expect it wherever we go: parking. One urban change consultant calls it's a societal addiction and is now suggesting parking actually needs to be harder to find. Kori Sidaway reports.

It’s one thing paying for it. Another finding it.

“It’s ridiculous, they don’t have enough parking spaces for people,” said George Simmons.

But the City of Victoria says that, may actually just be perception.

There 72,000 parking stalls in all of Victoria, 4,300 just in the downtown core.

A number that despite all the bike lines, construction – you name it – has remained relatively unchanged over the past four years.

But swimming against the tide is one urban change consultant who says parking is the problem.

“I’d like to see parking a lot more difficult to find,” said Lorne Daniel.

He’s begging the city to take away the convenient curbside stalls.

“I am literally saying it’ll be less convenient for you, but good for the planet, and we need to move in that direction,” said Daniel.

He says parking ‘drives’ car use and in order to free up street space for transit and cycling, the city needs to make parking a little less convenient for the majority of drivers, with the exception of handicap stalls.

“Transportation is number one or number two creator of greenhouse gases in B.C.” said Daniel.

“In order to bring that down, we simply have to bring down the amount we’re using individual cars. In order to do that parking is the key thing that influences whether people use a car or not.”

Daniel says it would be a societal shift, and a difficult one, and some locals aren’t sold.

“That’s one of the things that drives people to Mayfair or downtown, so I think the downtown would just die,” said Judy Stewart.

But Daniel offers a counter.

“The best cities in the world, the ones people really want to visit, are often the ones where it’s hardest to park.”

City bylaws currently require developers to build parking spots for all new apartments and condos. One stall can cost between $50,000 to $100,000 to build.

“Think about how much that influences the cost of living and it’s driving people out of the city that can’t afford those apartments,” said Daniel.

And some taxpayers echo the sentiments, hoping city hall is listening.

“The parking spaces offered are worth a fortune if you look at land prices in the city, we subsidize automobiles amazingly,” said Victoria local Rick Dowdall.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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