Car Free YYJ 2019 featured music, food, and so much more June 16. Government street will become a “people-priority” street by 2022 (Black Press File photo)

Government Street to be transformed into ‘people-priority’ zone

Victoria city council voted to limit traffic in the area by 2022

The City of Victoria will transform Government Street into a “people-priority” area by 2022.

In a committee of the whole meeting on Thursday, counsellors heard a staff report on previous consultations with local businesses and residents, and on pilots of the streets closure.

Pilot projects were inconclusive due to poor advertisement and limited displays available during the event. The last two pilot weekends had been cancelled, leading staff to recommend deferring any decisions to open the street to pedestrians until 2020.

The staff report was followed by a separate report by Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, who wishes to see changes in effect by 2022, meaning studies need to start by 2020.

PHOTOS: Car Free YYJ entertains the masses in Victoria

“I think we’ve been having the wrong conversation of cars versus no cars,” Helps said. “This isn’t meant to cut cars off, it’s meant to build on Government Street’s strengths, and limit vehicle traffic significantly so it feels your can just wander through a space made for people.”

Some options put forward by staff to make this feasible included removing curbs, and opening Government Street up to limited two-way traffic.

These changes would incorporate significant infrastructural updates, including the replacement of the street’s water main.

Coun. Geoff Young was most vocal against the idea, saying that other downtown streets could be assessed instead, such as Douglas Street.

ALSO READ: Hidden pedestrian scramble intersection already exists in Victoria

“Something better instead of spending money working over and over again on the same five blocks of Government Street that have been working for 40 years is figuring out how to use our resources and planning resources to extend the concept to other streets, and make other streets work as well as gov street,” he said.

Coun. Jeremy Loveday was hesitant to abandon the idea of a pedestrian-only zone altogether, and added an amendment that a review would happen one year after the people-priority zone had come into play to see if traffic could be removed altogether.

Council voted to begin studies on the procedures for researching and altering Government Street by 2020 with the aim to implement changes by 2022. The decision will be ratified at city council next week.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

Just Posted

Single mom caught up in Langford rental scam could be homeless for the holidays

Man took $3,900 cash for deposit and first month’s rent then disappeared

‘Norovirus-like’ outbreak interrupts Bantam hockey showcase in Greater Victoria

Several athletes were sent home, quarantined on the ferry

Expect rolling street closures, bus delays as truck convoy moves through region Saturday

The annual Truck Light Convoy will roll through the region starting at 5:45 p.m.

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

B.C.-born hockey official talks to IIHF about switching European rule book to NHL rules

Rob Shick will represent NHL at 4th World Hockey Forum in Russia

Miller nets winner as Canucks edge Sabres 6-5 in OT

Roussel, Leivo tally two apiece for Vancouver

$578: that’s how much your first distracted driving ticket will cost with recent premium hikes

Over 50 per cent of Canadians admitted to using phone while driving last year, according to study

Kelowna man attempts to steal bait bike from RCMP parking lot

38-year-old Brian Richard Harbison is facing several charges

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

Most Read