From June 8 to Oct. 31, Government Street between Humboldt and Yates Streets will be single-lane to give pedestrians priority and more space. Between Fort and View Streets, vehicle traffic is not allowed. The initiative is to help businesses in the area affected by COVID-19. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

POLL: Would you support permanently closing a portion of Government Street to vehicle traffic?

  • Jun. 10, 2020 2:45 p.m.

A move to increase foot traffic is a lifeline thrown to many struggling Victoria businesses.

Government Street between Humboldt and View was transformed this week, with a portion of it becoming single lane traffic to prioritize pedestrians and another portion open to pedestrians only. The initiative is temporary, according to Mayor Lisa Helps, and will run until Oct. 31 before being reassessed.

Helps said the goal is to support businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is intended to facilitate outdoor commercial use, such as allowing restaurants to expand their patios and giving performers and musicians areas to entertain. Pedestrians also have adequate space to physically distance.

ALSO READ: Government Street becomes pedestrian-priority corridor

“This feels like a bold step for Victoria because of decades long conversations about it. But there are other cities around the world that have opened their streets to pedestrians only,” she said. “Other cities have done hundreds of blocks with no cars, we’re doing one block.”

ALSO READ: Victoria City Council votes to ‘pedestrianize’ Beacon Hill Park

The move drew mixed reactions from local merchants. Many support the move as a temporary measure, but are concerned the loss of vehicle traffic will impact older customers, who depend on their vehicle to get around, as well as cut off the shops from the lucrative business from tourists.

“Last summer we stayed open late and as tourists waited to catch their bus, they’d browse,” said Rosa McCormick, manager of Cool as a Moose. “We could lose a lot of money if we’re not able to cater to them.”

The change also leaves couriers and delivery trucks scrambling to access the shops.

Victoria city council will take another look at the issue Oct. 31.

Would you support permanently closing a portion of Government Street to vehicle traffic? Take our poll and voice your opinion.

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

Just Posted

Langford boy wakes up from surgery to find stuffed puppy wearing the same cast

Hospital staff outfitted ‘Eddy’ the puppy to match the young patient

VIDEO: Annual artist studio tour goes virtual on Saanich Peninsula

ArtSea converts popular event to online format with personalized artist videos

Local Flavour: Youth take the lead in Victoria’s Pollinator Leadership Team

Guest writer Thompson Hygge, summer intern with Pollinator Partnership Canada

Flyover at B.C. Leg to commemorate National Peacekeepers’ Day

August 9 marks biggest single day loss of Canadian lives from peace operations

UVic political scientist wants B.C. pulp mills to help produce masks, gowns

Claire Cutler says Canada needs to become self-sufficient when manufacturing PPE

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Missing teen visiting Courtenay found safe

She had last been seen going for a walk on Aug. 6

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Most Read