The bike valet pilot project in downtown Victoria was by all means, a resounding success.
Since its launch, many have voiced their displeasure in the fact that the much-loved fixture would be shut down for the winter months when it became such an incentive for cyclists to ride their bikes through all seasons.
One thing all cyclists have in common is the fear of having their bike stolen. The bike valet service at Centennial Square that launched in June gave Victorians a place to stash their metal steed without having to worry about it not being where they left it on their homeward journey.
The valet service will be officially closing for the winter season on Sunday, November 6th.
The good news? The City of Victoria says it will be returning once spring comes about.
Thank you to everyone for your overwhelming support for this year's Downtown Victoria Bike Valet. As planned, the pilot service is closing on Sunday, November 6. It will be coming back in spring 2023. Share your experience by November 13 at: https://t.co/hDNysmh1k7 #yyjbike pic.twitter.com/1i68zHqWnd
— City of Victoria (@CityOfVictoria) October 27, 2022
In spite of its closing, many people in the city have been wondering why their newly beloved service can’t stay open all year round, including city councillor-elect Matt Dell.
“I’m going to make an effort to see if there’s any way we can keep it going for the winter,” Dell told Victoria Buzz in a phone interview.
“If people aren’t biking in the winter, we can incentivise them to bike in the winter.”
“We’re in a phase where we need people to be biking year round,” said Dell.
“Climate change doesn’t care if we get in our car in the winter and not the summer. We need a culture of year round biking, particularly in Victoria where it actually is quite nice to bike in the winter time.”
The service was also important for seniors and people who value the security of their bike. For some who used the valet, they don’t have a car. Their bike is their only means of transportation.
“Particularly seniors and people who are concerned about downtown crime, they’re using it,” Dell told Victoria Buzz.
“About a month ago I saw a group of about 20 seniors all waiting outside the valet to lock up their bikes in the E-bike program and I realized this is a success.”
Victoria’s “Bike Valet” service is a massive success. It allows people to bike downtown and store their bike securely. It’s a free service, open 7:30am-6:30pm mid week. We need to keep this service going! #yyj #victoriabc pic.twitter.com/1h2WhQnhqQ
— Matt Dell (@mattdellok) September 28, 2022
The valet was operated by Better Environmentally Sound Transportation (BEST) who are based out of Vancouver and Capital Bike which is a local cycling organization.
Whether they will be in charge of the valet’s operation when it comes back in the spring is yet to be determined.
Victoria Buzz reached out to Capital Bike, but they could not provide any comment or statement on the matter at the time of this publication.