Victoria seeks reduction in park short-cut traffic

New plan sees scaled-down changes to Beacon Hill roadways

A car passes parked cars and a parking sign along Arbutus Way in Beacon Hill Park. Victoria is considering changes to road access and parking in the park

A car passes parked cars and a parking sign along Arbutus Way in Beacon Hill Park. Victoria is considering changes to road access and parking in the park

After public outcry over proposed plans to close some roads to vehicles in Beacon Hill Park, more modest changes are in the works.

People were fearful of the unknown, said Coun. Charlayne Thornton Joe.

After reading the original plans, people thought “I can’t go here now,” she said Thursday at a city environment and infrastructure committee meeting. “We’re saying ‘yes you can.'”

Last year, staff recommended permanent closures of some sections of roads that run through the park. The closures have been scaled back and instead, cheaper, temporary measures such as bollards and signage were introduced last week.

The main changes now proposed entail removing parallel parking along Arbutus Road – the entrance to the park at the foot of Quadra Street – except for evenings and weekends; closing Bridge Way at the washrooms, but adding 15-minute parking stalls for seniors and young families; and closing Heywood Way between the cricket field and Circle Drive.

The road closures are mainly intended to prevent drivers from cutting through the park.

“This is meeting the concerns halfway,” said Doug DeMarzo, manager of parks planning and design.

It keeps the spirit of the original plan, to make the park as friendly as possible to pedestrians, while maintaining vehicle access to all the park’s major amenities.

In March, council directed staff to cut the project’s budget from $530,000 to $25,000.

The new “bare bones” plan has nixed a proposed perimeter trail, upgrades to the parking lots and other esthetic improvements.

Pending final approval by council, the parks department hopes to get started in July. From July through November, parks staff will survey the public about the changes. The results will determine whether the changes are reversed or maintained, and whether the project proceeds to the next phase.

rholmen@vicnews.com

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

Just Posted

Reynolds Secondary School’s spring musical Freaky Friday features Grace Fouracre as teen Ellie Blake (left) who swaps bodies with her overworked mother, Katherine, played by Nadia Lurie. (Photo courtesy Reynolds Secondary School)
Saanich high school goes virtual with Freaky Friday musical

Reynolds Secondary theatre program to livestream performances March 9-12

Saanich Fire Department. Black Press Media File Photo
Fire displaces three Saanich families from two homes

Saanich firefighters found the fire had spread to a neighbouring home upon arriving

Ronald Schinners, owner of The Cabbie in the #YYJ, opened his taxi service in the West Shore last month. (Dawn Gibson/News Staff)
‘One man show,’ The Cabbie in the #YYJ cultivates 45,000 followers on Instagram

New taxi company brings unusual spunk to the West Shore

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Health authority opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

The biggest risk to the Island's economy post-earthquake is that it may never return, according to Bruce Williams, interim CEO of the South Island Prosperity Partnership. (Contributed by Bruce Williams)
Greater Victoria businesses in chamber spotlight for 2021 awards

Annual awards program highlights local companies making the most of things, despite the pandemic

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read