(View Street parkade)

Recent complaints from local businesses about the lack of adequate downtown parking has increased public pressure on the City of Victoria to address the city’s transportation infrastructure.

Recently it was reported that some local downtown Victoria businesses were unhappy with the lack of parking for both customers and their employees.

“Every business owner I’ve reached out to and talked to, has noticed it’s had an impact on their business,” said Sasha Appleton, who works at The Cobbler on View Street.

Appleton first discovered the problem after noticing that there was frequently a lineup of cars at the View Street parkade. She’s also received complaints from both customers and employees about the lack of parking in the area.

According to Citified, since 2010 Victoria has lost 900 full-time parking stalls due to downtown redevelopment. Furthermore, if commercial and residential development continues at its current rate, downtown Victoria could lose as many as 1,500 parking stalls by 2020.

Currently, the City of Victoria operates parkades on Broughton, Johnson, View, Yates and Fisgard Street. In total, these five parkades provide 1,856 parking spots.

But some think the complaints about the lack of parking need to be kept in a broader context.

“There’s a few complaints that parking is difficult to find in the downtown, but I want to mitigate that with the fact that yes, it’s also that time of year,” said Kerri Milton, the Executive Director of the Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA), referring to the increased traffic due to the holiday season.

Milton added that the DVBA is working with the city to develop more long-term solutions to better Victoria’s transportation infrastructure. Milton suggested that solutions like rapid-transit, Uber, the reality of driverless cars and more bike lanes could all be part of the solution, “I don’t think you can look at one part of transportation and say that’s the end all and be all answer; we have to look it all as a complex whole.”

Milton also said she is aware of the concerns of some local businesses, but was clear, “They are not speaking, by any means, for the majority.”

Victoria’s Mayor Lisa Helps says she’s aware of the issue and is looking at long-term solutions, “We need to support the infrastructure of 21st century, not the infrastructure of the 20th century.” She added, “What we’re running up against is the success downtown is having.” Mayor Helps said that downtown has seen 42% more people since 2014 and the city is working to accommodate this growth.

In addition to looking at long-term solutions like better transportation infrastructure, the Mayor also said the city is looking at short-term solutions like allowing taxis to drop off passengers near fire hydrants, or adding more angled parking – like the parking on Yates Street.

However, Appleton doesn’t think these short-term solutions are enough, “She’s [Mayor Helps] not in touch with reality,” Appleton added that the city is always going to need adequate parking, “When everyone wakes up, we’ll realize we have no downtown parking.”

Have you had issues with parking in downtown Victoria? Let us know in the comments section below.

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