Victoria councillors pitch motion for new parkade north of downtown

Victoria councillors pitch motion for new parkade north of downtown
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The top of the Fisgard Street parkade is shown overlooking Centennial Square on May 21, 2024.

As Victoria cements itself as a centre for cycling, it might seem that a motion being pitched to Victoria city council goes against the flow of traffic.

“We’re trying to move away from cars,” said Victoria Coun. Matt Dell on Tuesday. “So there’s a natural question of, ‘Why would you build more space for cars?'”

The motion pitched by Dell and fellow councillor Dave Thompson would look into the feasibility of building a new parkade north of downtown.

“They [drivers] would leave their car north of the city then walk into town or take transit. It’s also about getting rid of some of the cars downtown and making a better experience for residents and locals,” said Dell.

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Fewer cars and more foot traffic is good for business, and Greater Victoria Business Association CEO Jeff Bray isn’t concerned about the distance from the downtown core.

“It’s still really part of downtown and really just a couple of blocks from where people want to go, so we’re very supportive,” he said.

Dell says city staff would explore options on city-owned properties as well as possible partnerships with developers. It could also be an issue of addition by subtraction. According to Dell, part of the conversation will include re-purposing the Fisgard Street parkade adjacent to Centennial Square and Victoria City Hall.

“This is our key public square downtown and the main building facing onto it is a parkade, so this presents an opportunity in the future to look at another civic building such as a library or an art gallery or museum,” he said.

Bray says more information is needed before a transformation like that should get a green light.

“We’d want some strong evidence to say we have too many parkades before we look at changing them and actually eliminating any,” he said.

With the wheels turning on car-free initiatives, the city is also reporting its biggest user day of 2024 for the downtown bike valet program. Monday saw 268 users park their bikes for Victoria Day festivities.

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