Downtown businesses have seen significant changes to local infrastructure in recent years, some of which have caused negative impacts to their shops.
In a new report put out by the Downtown Victoria Business Association, 400 surveyed respondents named parking availability and cost of parking to be two of the top four factors that negatively impact the vitality of their businesses. The other two factors are safety and the public perception of a clean downtown.
In the survey 78.8 per cent of respondents ranked parking availability as one of the top four factors.
One of the largest contributors to a change in parking availability is the construction of developments in the downtown core, with over 15 condominium projects currently on the go. This is seconded by the Victoria bike lane network; while there are nearly 2,000 on-street parking spots throughout downtown Victoria, the installation of the Pandora bike lanes saw the loss of 44 parking spots and the Fort Street lanes lost an additional 30.
The Wharf Street lanes, which are currently under construction, will see the loss of an additional 21 of its 45 parking spots, and seven current spots will be lost along Humboldt Street, though nine more will be added somewhere along the route.
Additionally, parking costs were ranked in the top four factors by 53.2 per cent of respondents.
Most recently, costs to park shifted with the addition of parking fees for street parking on Sundays, which began at the beginning of May.
Monday through Saturday rates range from $1.50 to $3 per hour, with 90-minute to two-hour time limits, while Sunday fees are $2 per hour in a 90-minute zone and $1 per hour in other zones. Parkades remain free on Sundays.
The installation of these fees aims to cover the costs of a subsidized transit passes for Victoria youth, though council heard on Thursday that the fees will in all likelihood only cover approximately $500,000 or the required $850,000 for the cost.