A free, coat-check style valet service for bicycles, strollers, and other forms of active transportation is launching this week in downtown Victoria.
Starting Friday, June 24 the service will be staffed and located in a secure, covered zone at City Hall, right by the Pandora Avenue cycling route.
The service is free and is open seven days a week, until early November.
Initial hours of operation are:
- 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday
- 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday
- 10:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday
- 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday
The service is also anticipated to be open for extended hours for select special events throughout the summer.
All types of bicycles are welcome, including cargo, recumbent, e-bikes and adaptive bikes, along with push scooters and strollers. Users can leave their lights, helmets and other accessories that are securely attached.
The City of Victoria says it is allocating $146,000 of the $500,000 it received from the Canada Community Building fund for this service.
During the summer, staff will be conducting research about the bike valet service to inform future operating models for safe bike parking in the city.
Other projects the city is undergoing with the remaining money from the community building fund includes retrofitting the Yates Street parkade for bikes, new covered bike shelters at schools and community centres, and educations programs.
All riders will also be offered free registration with Project 529 Garage, the bicycle recovery system used by the Victoria Police Department.
“The valet service will offer exceptional convenience and peace of mind for those looking to ride downtown, particularly for families, commuters and visitors,” said Mayor Lisa Helps. “This pilot project is one of the ways we are working to improve bicycle parking, attract new riders and deter bike theft in the city.”
Other city initiatives include bike parking upgrades in the Yates Street parkade and the installation of new bike shelters at schools and community centres across the city this fall.
Jeff Bray, executive director of the Downtown Victoria Business Association says the service will help attract people to shop, dine, visit, and park their bike downtown with confidence.
The project was inspired by other successful public bike valet services in cities including Vancouver and Portland, Oregon.
The pilot will be operated by Better Environmentally Sound Transportation (BEST) and Capital Bike, both of whom have successfully operated bicycle valet services in Victoria and Vancouver.