DVBA creates interactive map to help ease parking challenges

Map shows every possible parking lot/structure and on-street parking space in the downtown core

  • Jan. 26, 2017 3:00 p.m.
DVBA creates interactive map to help ease parking challenges

Tim Collins

Victoria News

The Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA) aims to be a proactive champion of Victoria’s downtown business community, but that can be a tough goal when drivers coming into the downtown find themselves circling the block for the umpteenth time, searching in vain for that elusive parking spot.

It’s a problem with which Kerri Milton, the executive director of the DVBA, is all too familiar. It’s also why, as the first of the 31 action items the organization has listed regarding transportation, they recently unveiled a new, interactive map of every possible parking lot/structure and on-street parking space in the downtown core.

The map includes privately owned and city operated lots, and by clicking on a specific lot’s pin,  drivers can get full details on every aspect of the lot, including the number of spots, its location and who manages the facility. The map also tells the cost to park and the lots hours of operation.

The map is broken up into daily, weekly and monthly parking spots, and provides information on whether there is a wait-list for a monthly parking spot.

For on-street parking, the map will zoom into the streets so users can identify the most convenient potential parking areas for their daily needs. Alas, the information for on-street parking and, for that matter, the parking lots, is not a real time representation of whether the spots are available.

“That sort of real time feature is something we’d love to look at in the future, but it would require a significant technological investment,” said Milton. “We could potentially link into the existing parking app for on-street parking, but even then it wouldn’t necessarily be an accurate reflection of whether the spots are actually open. Someone might be parked in a spot without having paid and in other cases someone may have paid for their time and left the spot vacant before that time has run out.”

Even with the obvious limitations of the map in identifying actual vacant parking, Milton is confident in its benefit to those searching for places to park.

“Most people don’t know that there are 16 parkades, nine customer parking lots and more than 40 surface parking lots in downtown.”

“There are also over 1,000 on-street parking spots within walking distance of downtown. The map puts the information at their fingertips.”

Milton stressed the DVBA team’s commitment to constantly updating the map with new information on additional parking spots or the loss of any lots or spots listed on the map, ensuring the information will be current and accurate.

For those interested in car-sharing, the map also identifies the three downtown parkades where the Modo-Cooperative is located.

The DVBA initiative has seen a significant interest in its first few days of operation, with 491 people having opened the map in the first 36 hours of its operation, prompting Milton to express her satisfaction with the utility of the project.

“It’s a great start, but we recognize this isn’t the answer to all the parking problems we have downtown,” said Milton.

She cited the recent cold snap in Victoria as the sort of mitigating factor that can easily increase the number of people choosing automobile transportation over bikes or even mass transit and thereby increasing the demand for parking. She also pointed out that the construction boom in the downtown, while good for the vitality of the city, poses additional challenges as workers look for space to park their vehicles.

The parking map can be found at downtownvictoria.ca/play-downtown/parking-downtown-victoria.

 

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