Monday, May 17, 2010

Rant: DVBA Announces Free Parking Spot Contest

The Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA) has announced their Win Your Own Parking Spot Contest.

Really? A parking spot? Encouraging people to drive downtown? What about encouraging the use of transit, cycling or even (gasp!) walking?

DVBA Mission

"To be a proactive champion for Victoria's downtown business community, promoting sustainable economic vitality through direct action and advocacy."

Hmmmm.

Public Transit (not my area of expertise)

One common complaint is that fares are too high and not proportionate to the quality of service. Higher fares = lower ridership = reduced schedule and routes = lower ridership = higher fares.

C'mon DVBA, incentivize transit use!

Cycling (I do this a lot)

In the last five years bike lanes have become more common leading to and in downtown. The lanes usually run along bus routes between traffic and parking. This is kind-of okay, but these streets are traffic heavy and the buses and cars cutting across the bike lane increase danger and degrade the quality of the road. Many lanes stop/start randomly, often multiple car lengths ahead of or after an intersection, and sometimes for whole, busy downtown blocks.

Bike parking has improved somewhat in a small section of the downtown core (I'd say the blocks bordered by Quadra, Government, Fort and Pandora), but with the recent removal of coin-op parking metres the options are greatly reduced. I say "Hurrah!" if you're lucky enough to find a proper bike rack, but those are few and far between and you're left with the choice of trees, sign posts, fences and railings.

The Free Parking Spot

I've entered this contest. I've used a picture of me in front of the Mountain Equipment Co-op bike corral (same as with this post). Golly, gosh, jeez! Do you think I'll win that free spot? I sure hope they don't remove my entry because it might not "promote a positive representation of Victoria" (official rules). Find my pic and vote for me!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Amy,

    I'm the office administrator for the DVBA, and your blog came up in a Google search for our name. I've also seen your photo before, since I'm moderating the Wildfire contest - and personally, I quite liked it! I think it's a fun photo, and I hope you do get the votes to win (I'm sure you can find something to do with the parking space - bike parking, maybe? - or if you collect one of the other prize packages, I hope you'll enjoy them).

    As for your other concerns, I know everyone here at my office shares them. We do what we can to encourage all forms of transit into downtown, particularly the non-polluting or lower-polluting ones like buses, cycling, and walking. We're constantly in discussions with BC Transit, and we've published a lot of walking maps of our incredibly walkable downtown to encourage people to get out and about. We're also helping to sponsor two additional temporary bike racks on Johnson St. & Fort St. before Bike To Work Week - the idea is that we measure demand in a location with these temporary racks, then move them to a new location and if demand was high, install a permanent rack.

    Again, best of luck with the contest!

    Yours,
    Alison Gair

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