Drivers who enjoyed reduced parking rates at city parkades on Broughton, View and Johnson streets are bracing for a return nearly to pre-COVID prices.
Victoria increases the daily maximum rate to $12 a day at the Johnson Street parkade and $14.50 at Broughton and View street parkades, effective Oct. 15.
Regular parkers at the Broughton parkade, situated under the Greater Victoria Public Library’s central branch and offices of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, will see the greatest daily increase from the current $5 a day rate. View Street jumps from a $9 daily fee, as does the Johnson Street facility.
Jeff Bray, executive director of the Downtown Victoria Business Association, said the new daily rates – monthly rates at all city parkades go up Nov. 1 – won’t necessarily affect downtown merchants.
“From our perspective, there’s still lots of availability in parkades,” he said, a fact referred to in a recent staff report to council. For people visiting downtown for a shorter period of time, easy availability is tends to be more important than price, he added.
With the lot near full by mid-morning, indications are that downtown workers have taken advantage of the cheap rates at Broughton to park there all day.
“I think what we would like to see is that parking is available for customers and clients, rather than just warehousing cars eight hours a day,” Bray said. “For us that’s one of the challenges, having parking for that person who’s coming down for an hour or two hours, reasonably close to where they’re wanting to go.”
While the city parking policy originally intended parkades be primarily for shoppers and visitors, downtown workers use them frequently, attracted by the comparatively cheaper rates than private lots.
In April when people were largely staying away from the downtown due to COVID, the city reduced rates and relaxed on-street parking enforcement. To even out demand between its parkades it gradually raised rates through the summer, but left Broughton at $5 a day. That decision, combined with the return of many workers to downtown workplaces, has made it one of the busiest facilities.
The city hasn’t ignored the need for parking for shorter term visitors to downtown. Not only is the first hour free in all five city parkades, as are evenings 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. Monday through Saturday, a number of spaces are designated for stays of three hours or less.
The new monthly rates taking effect Nov. 1 include Centennial Square – $150 (up from $130); Johnson Street – $175 (up from $85); View and Broughton – $200 (up from $85); Yates – $200 (up from $175).
For more information on the parking availability and rates at city parkades, visit victoria.ca/EN/main/residents/parking.html.