Government Street downtown took on a different look and feel as of Friday, with pedestrians walking up the centre of the roadway.
It’s the first day of the City of Victoria’s closure of the street to vehicle traffic in afternoons and evenings, as part of the Build Back Victoria program. The closure is in effect seven days a week from noon to 10 p.m. and is designed to bring more people downtown and support local businesses.
While the bylaw closing the corridor to vehicle traffic calls for it to take effect between Humboldt and View streets, the 900 block of Government Street between Humboldt and Broughton streets remains open to vehicles 24 hours a day during construction of the Customs House project on Government Street.
People strolling along the corridor will find additional picnic tables and seating options and new planters have been installed to not only create a more welcoming space but to slow vehicles down during the hours the street is open to traffic (10 p.m. to noon the next day).
Among enhancements planned to make the route a vibrant destination are new artwork installations and eventually, pop-up concerts featuring local musicians.
“With patio culture in full swing downtown, the Downtown Victoria Business Association invites everyone to enjoy a vibrant Government Street as we emerge from a challenging time,” said Jeff Bray, executive director of the DVBA, a partner in Build Back Victoria.
New passenger and commercial loading zones and accessible parking stalls are usable outside of the closure hours.
The city reminds drivers in the area to be aware of the new layout and to exercise caution and patience when travelling through the area. Streets crossing Government between the five blocks remain open during the closure periods, but no turns onto Government will be permitted in either direction.
For more information about the city program behind the changes, visit victoria.ca/BuildBackVictoria.
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