The City of Victoria has been trying to make more room for pedestrians and for businesses to move more of their business outdoors as they attempt to social distance.
In recent articles and letters, several people have criticized the city’s efforts, apparently without even attempting to get all the facts correct.
A business owner claims that Victoria doesn’t have the density or the climate to support a pedestrian mall on Government Street. People said the same thing in Copenhagen when they proposed creating a pedestrian street there back in the 1960s. That street is now extremely popular and successful. Similarly, Boulder, Col., a city that is less dense than Victoria and experiences much colder winters, also has a very successful downtown pedestrian mall.
A letter writer claims that Victoria’s efforts to create more space for pedestrians in Beacon Hill Park makes the park inaccessible to the elderly and disabled. Has he actually been to the park to see what has been done? While some roads have been closed, more than 80 per cent of the parking has been retained, and Circle Drive and other roads that access those parking areas remain open to cars.
Another letter writer complains about the closure of the road up to the lookout atop Beacon Hill, something that was recommended by city staff. He says that city council, “except for Geoff Young”, should apologize. It’s a curious statement to make given that Geoff Young was one of the councillors that voted in favor of closing the road.