Downtown Congestion & Gridlock

Re: Citified’s “Despite rising congestion and gridlock, fewer cars are entering downtown Victoria: CRD

Fewer and fewer cars downtown, yet increased congestion and longer travel times. Hrm… I wonder how that happened!

While poor urban planning and bike lanes are certainly to blame for a share of this decrease, they are not the only factors. Downtown Victoria is becoming less desirable every year. Commercial property taxes being 3.5 times greater than an equivalent residential property, coupled with the regular removal of parking spaces downtown has created a climate where businesses don’t want to be downtown and customers don’t want to either.

The commercial vacancy rate for downtown storefronts peaked in 2014 at 10-11% and thankfully has been on the way down recently. However, if council continues making decisions that further exacerbate the congestion problems and remain on track to have eliminated 1,500 parking spaces between 2010 and 2020 then that vacancy rate will go back up.

Downtown revitalization needs to be one of the top priorities of this City Council, and I’m just not seeing any actions being taken in the right direction.

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Narrow Streets

With all this talk about the BC Transit Drivers coming out against how narrow Fort Street has become due to the bike lanes, I’d like to share this picture I snapped last week.

One car getting towed has resulted in a complete shut down of an entire block of one of our downtown’s main roads because there is no longer any room to navigate around.

Bike lanes can be a fantastic asset to our city as well as an important safety feature for cyclists and drivers alike, but the way Victoria City Council has gone about this endeavour is all wrong.

We need responsible urban planning to get this right for the sake of the future of this city.

Times Colonist: Council helped create affordability crisis

Re: “James Bay condo development on duplex lots gets narrow nod,” May 15.

It is an insult to anyone’s intelligence for Victoria Coun. Pam Madoff to say: “In my view, if I supported this I’d be destabilizing the neighbourhood. I’d be further inflating housing prices.”

Increasing density and housing supply is the main way forward to escape the affordability crunch. Trying to shoot down projects, scale back proposals or delay developments, as council has done for decades, is the cause of the crisis.

The prominence and scale of the federal and provincial governments make them an attractive target for citizens’ ire, but urban municipal politicians deserve the brunt of the blame for this crisis in B.C.

Madoff has been on Victoria city council for 25 years, with an impressive track record of never having met a density increase that she has liked. We millennials were still in diapers while civic politicians like her were laying the groundwork for today’s affordability crisis with zero repercussions then or since.

Nobody epitomizes what is wrong with our city hall more than she does. Nobody has done more to harm the future prospects of my generation in this city than she has.

Andrew Reeve
Victoria

Original Times Colonist Link

Rare Kudos To City Council: Fire Hall Plan

I’m not always a downer on Victoria City Council, I do actually post about great things accomplished by our council, they just happen once in a blue moon.

We rarely see big positive developments coming from City Hall, it’s usually tackling some minor issue and kicking the can down the road on anything substantive. Here we actually have a substantial solution to a large problem that Victoria has been struggling with for quite some time due to the aging infrastructure/lack of seismic stability of Firehall No.1 on Yates.

So here it is: Bravo Victoria City Council, and thank you. Oh, and bonus points for it being a P3!

News Article

Vice Chairman of THS

Proud to announce that last night I was elected Vice Chairman of Threshold Housing Society. The past year and a half on the Board of Directors has been a fantastic and rewarding experience and I can’t wait to begin contributing even more to such an incredible organization by serving as its Vice Chair.

2017-2018 is going to be a big year for combating youth homelessness. The Greater Victoria Coalition To End Homelessness will be focusing on youth this year and a Task Force will be struck with Threshold’s involvement.

If you’re looking to get involved in non-profit work and give back to the community this year, please do get in touch as we still have some openings on the Board of Directors.