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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rare white orca spotted hunting off shores of Alaska for first time

Tl’uk seems healthy and strong, says researcher

Mental health challenges add to youth stress load

Part 2 in a Black Press series on Youth Homelessness

Langford bike park rolling along to completion

New park a tribute to Jordie Lunn’s legacy

Oak Bay council places 60-day protection order on Island Road house

Developer pulled heritage agreement over ‘exorbitant’ $417,000 fees

Saanich council to dig into long-awaited garden suite study

Detached suites keep families close, provide financial flexibility, mayor says

VIDEO: Greater Victoria police officers try bhangra dancing with social media star

Gurdeep Pandher leads bhangra lesson on front lawn of the BC Legislature building

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

VIDEO: World responds to B.C. girl after pandemic cancels birthday party

Dozens of cards and numerous packages were delivered to six-year-old Charlie Manning

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Hundreds of sea lions to be killed on Columbia River in effort to save endangered fish

Nearly 22,000 comments received during public review were opposed, fewer than 200 were for

Most Read