The Downtown Victoria Business Association is not against instating street parking fees on Sundays. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

LETTER: Let’s change the conversation about parking

Take away my convenient car parking – please!

I’m an (occasional) car driver and I want parking to be less convenient. Parking needs to be harder to find, and definitely not free (especially downtown), if we care about the planet and our city.

Easy vehicle parking is the gateway drug for a high carbon society.

It’s a societal addiction.

Our greenhouse gases are not dropping, and transportation is a key reason why. Our streets have ample room for trees and people and transit lanes and scooters and patios and passenger drop-off zones. But we can’t have all that and have ample parking too.

We need to change the conversation about parking. Let’s improve the safety, health and livability of our streets – and not complain when those improvements eliminate car parking, especially downtown.

READ MORE: Downtown Victoria businesses cite parking issues as top challenge

We also need to stop referring to “cyclists” or “motorists” or “walkers” or “transit users.” We are all people and many of us (me included) use all these forms of getting around. Moving around Greater Victoria needs to allow for all modes, while making the low carbon modes the easiest.

We say we believe in lowering our carbon footprint but, irrationally, we don’t want to actually change our car driving behavior. We want to have convenient, low cost parking and lower GHGs too.

It won’t happen.

Parking “drives” car usage – pun intended. If we change parking, we change car usage. People who can’t easily park their vehicle shift to other modes – take a bus, hire a cab, bike, get a friend to drop them off, walk – or some creative combination of the above. I’m one of those people – a car owner, bike owner, transit user, walker. If parking is too cheap and easy, we all use it – and therefore use our cars even when alternatives are available.

Each of us can make personal changes but we get the biggest benefit if we make a community-wide shift away from cars and into healthy, people-friendly street sharing.

Would the intentional reduction of parking be “social engineering”? You bet – the best kind. Social engineering is what broke our growing addiction to cigarette use. Remember when pub owners wailed that anti-smoking bylaws would kill their businesses?

As a community, we should be designing for the healthiest possible city. Less convenient car parking helps get us there.

Lorne Daniel

Victoria

– Lorne Daniel is a Victoria resident who walks, bikes, drives a car, takes transit, and has been a wheelchair user. His work in urban change has won awards from national and international organizations. He is founder of Greater Victoria Placemaking Network.

Just Posted

Pacific FC, Dodd’s Furniture team up for local food banks

CPL team offering one free ticket to Oct. 2 game for two non-perishable food donations

Historic camp celebrates 75 years in Sooke

Camp Barnard donated to Scouts Canada in 1944

Arguments ramp up against proposed Sooke daycare

Proposed Church Road facility clears the latest hurdle

UVic announces review into circumstances of fatal bus crash

Upcoming student trip on the same route not cancelled

Hundreds gather at fundraising kickoff for ‘Kings Park’ purchase

Campaign to raise $2.75 million for the District of Saanich underway

Third instance of Trudeau in skin-darkening makeup emerges

Another instance of Trudeau using makeup to darken his face has emerged, within 24 hours of the first

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

21 years: Grand Chief Stewart Philip to continue leading B.C. Indian Chiefs union

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip acclaimed as president of Union of BC Indian Chiefs

Murder charges laid after body pulled from Fraser River ID’ed as missing man

Accused also face one count each of attempted murder in connection with Rudy Johnson Bridge incident

B.C. MLA’s former constituency assistant charged with fraud, breach of trust

Charges announced Sept. 19 more than two years after Martin fired Desmond Devnich for alleged thefts

B.C. salmon farm inspection deal reached with Indigenous people

Monitoring to determine if any Broughton region farms stay open

RCMP seize $1.9 million in B.C. traffic stop

The driver and passenger were detained under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

Yearbook photo surfaces of Trudeau wearing ‘brownface’ costume in 2001

The report describes the occasion as an ‘Arabian Nights’-themed gala event

Most Read