Monday, June 14, 2010

Response: DVBA and Bike Parking



On May 26, 2010 I got my first comment on my blog! It was a somewhat positive response from Alison Gair, DVBA office administrator, regarding my post on their Free Parking Spot Contest.

Alison acknowledged my concerns about promotion of sustainable access to the downtown core, and says that they are shared by everyone at the DVBA office. She went on to say that they "encourage all forms of transit into downtown, particularly ... buses, cycling, and walking."

Is encouragement enough?

Alison also expressed how much she liked my photo and hoped I win; she said "I'm sure you can find something to do with the parking space - bike parking, maybe?" This prompted me to do some research. I went to the Robbins Parking website looking for terms of use/rules and regulations for parking spots and came up with nothing. I contacted Robbins asking if it would be possible to install a bike rack in the prize spot. Here's the reply:

Good morning. Thank you for your enquiry about the free parking spot.
The DVBA requested Robbins to contribute a free parking spot at any of our downtown locations. So the winner can park in any of our downtown locations. It is not a single designated spot. The thought being that providing a spot at multiple locations would make the prize even more valuable. Our intent is to make the parking as convenient and flexible as possible.
So unfortunately a bike rack would not work in this instance.
Thank you for the enquiry.
Best regards,
Dan
Dan Sawchuk
President
Robbins Parking Service Ltd.

There seems to be some dissonance between the DVBA's contest, mission, actions and the information they're relaying to me…


However, they ARE attempting to assess the bike parking situation downtown (Alison also mentioned this in her reply) by installing temporary bike racks for Bike to Work Week (now two weeks past). I'm not sure that this is the best way to assess need.

Bike to Work Week is an abnormal situation where many people that don't ride regularly are on the streets: (1) They wouldn't necessarily have the same reaction to lack of  parking as those that ride year round; and (2) they wouldn't have the same motivation to comment on bike parking because they may think the congestion is due to Bike to Work Week.

A more effective approach may be a survey of the downtown core based on heavily used blocks (ie. Pandora between Government and Wharf; Johnson between Douglas and Wharf; Fort between Cook and Wharf; etc.), 3-4 times a week, 2-3 times a day, for two weeks to cover different times of day, weather conditions and leisure hours. Their email address regarding bike parking is bikeparking@downtownvictoria.ca; I'm going to email them my suggestions; if you've got an idea of your own, you should email them too.

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