LETTER: Encourage alternative transportation before building parking lots

So perhaps it was because it was Bike to Work Week, maybe the wonderful weather or the staff of all the shops in Sidney took time off during the week.

Who knows what it was, but I had the opportunity to observe the usage rate of the town’s new parking lot that holds 167 spaces. Mostly, I saw about 20 or so vehicles in it.

READ ALSO: Sidney’s new parking lot officially opens

Talking with a couple of folks who work in the shops, it is easy to see why it is not being used more and why the town’s strategy of increasing the supply of parking by spending money to build more free parking isn’t working. The folks I talked to said that they liked where they parked and didn’t feel like they had to use it, so they didn’t. Fair enough.

READ ALSO: Sidney’s free new parking lot aims to stimulate business and help squeezed workers

No doubt it will fill up as demand outstrips supply occasionally such as when the Mary Winspear Centre puts on a good show, as they often do, but the truth remains that until people are incentivised to use these facilities through paying for on-street parking, they won’t.

One would never have to worry about finding an open space in our downtown if the rates were set so that it was the minimum amount to keep one or two spaces per block open. This is known as demand-responsive pricing and rates on average are less expensive than fixed rate areas. Other cities create buy-in from adjacent businesses and residents by giving back net parking revenue.

Folks often think that when they pay a meter, they are paying the government, but the truth is they are paying other folks to park farther away, take transit, walk, cycle or come at a less congested time.

READ ALSO: Central Saanich councillor wants free transit for all

Either way, the town could have saved taxpayers some money by not building this lot, encouraged people to use healthier forms of transportation and reduced contaminated storm water runoff.

All of these things we say we want to do, and we can. It just takes good policy.

Eric Diller

Sidney

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

Just Posted

Saanich Peninsula steps into post-pandemic phase

Pending partial re-opening of local schools signals new start

Craft vendors allowed to re-join Goldstream Farmers Market

Dr. Bonnie Henry lightens restrictions, approves non-food items to be sold

Three people sent to hospital following serious crash in View Royal

Incident involved a motorcycle and one vehicle on Sunday afternoon

Saanich high school student wins free educational trip through Europe

Beaverbrook Vimy Prize centers on First, Second World War history

Province recognizes three Greater Victoria residents for work to combat racism

The three residents were recognized during the Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Awards

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

B.C.’s Central Kootenay region declares state of emergency, issues evacuation orders

The evacuation alert covers all areas except the Cities of Castelgar and Nelson

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Man dies in ATV accident south of Nanaimo

Incident happened on backroad Friday night in Nanaimo Lakes area

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Most Read