Victoria reopens and expands its free downtown bike valet service
Following the success of its launch in 2022, a free active transportation valet service is set to reopen in downtown Victoria for its second year, offering active commuters a safe and secure place to park their wheels.
"It's a great way to give people peace of mind and security," said the city's active transportation planner Sarah Webb on CBC Radio's On The Island Monday.
She said the coat-check style valet service will reopen at Pandora and Broad Street on March 17 and will run every day of the week until the end of December for active transportation devices like regular and electric bikes, bike trailers, strollers, scooters, and other personal mobility devices.
As part of the service, cyclists will also be given the chance to register their bike with Project 529, the Victoria Police Department's official bicycle registration system, should a bike be stolen.
The valet pilot program began last June and ran until November as part of the city's enhanced bicycle parking strategy.
Webb said feedback for the program was very positive, and the city recorded more than 11,000 bike visits to the valet service during its six-month launch in 2022. She said this translates to over a hundred bikes parked each day on average, and on peak days, the valet saw over 250 mobility devices parked.
"It was incredible to see the wide range of not only users who came for a few minutes or hours, but people who bought trailers, cargo bikes and other kinds of devices," she said, noting that 30 per cent of the participants last year had oversized or electric bikes.
Bike valet great for downtown businesses, says mayor
Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto said in a statement that the valet can be convenient for cyclists to travel to work downtown, to go to events, or shops and restaurants.
"You can park for a few minutes or a few hours without having to worry about your panniers, lights, or helmets," she said.
The valet will be operated by the non-profits Better Environmentally Sound Transportation and Capital Bike, who ran the service last year.
It will be open Monday to Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
It will also be open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The city says operating hours will be expanded during the summer months, including Fridays and Saturdays.
Webb said the city will also expand its new public bike parking shelters at schools and community centres in the region and has launched a "borrow a bike lock" program for users to rent out high-quality bike locks for short periods of time.