Downtown Victoria parking shortage prompts park and ride solution

Victoria bus lanes delayed by rising construction costs

A new park and ride lot is scheduled to open on the edge of Victoria next month following complaints about scarce parking for downtown employees. 

The new facility is on the site of a former Toyota car dealership and is will be home to 53 parking spaces that rent for $100 a month each and include a bus pass.

Kerri Milton, the executive director of the Downtown Victoria Business Association, told On the Island Host Gregor Craigie the service is a bargain with monthly parking rates elsewhere in the city starting at $100 a month and a bus pass at $85.

"We already have people signed up and we just launched the plan yesterday," Milton said.

The Douglas and Frances Street location is a half block away from a bus stop.

The DVBA partnered with Robbins Parking, Pattison Group, B.C. Transit and the City of Victoria to launch the park and ride facility. 

Milton said it could be the first of three such facilities if it proves popular. 

The park and ride is the first to be completed from a list of 32 options for improving transportation in the city developed by DVBA members and partner organizations. 

"We're not saying this is the solution for everyone," Milton said. "If you're coming in from the western communities and need a place to park this is another option for you."

The parking shortage is a relatively recent phenomenon in downtown Victoria, where a construction boom is turning many former street-level lots into new condominium and office towers. 

Milton said the tight parking situation is a sign of success for downtown Victoria where there are now fewer vacant businesses than in recent years.

"Any city that has a parking problem, it is a good problem," she said. "If we did not have a downtown parking problem we would have a bigger problem."