UVic, smarting after their rejection last summer for their height variance, is back before the community again for the CARSA project and its associated parkade. Not much has changed with this round, although they have at least attempted to show a few different options. The public seems to like the partially buried option as the TC has reported, but there some other interesting things in the report.
Not many students gave feedback
Arguably students have already given their approval after CARSA went through a referendum. Still, the total number of students was very low.
Nobody is talking about how CARSA or the parkade are going to be funded.
CARSA itself will come from a whole list of groups, but the parkade will be funded by the parking fees (which will generate money for UVic once the debt is paid off). This is why UVic isn’t talking about a new sorely-needed transit exchange: they aren’t paying for the parkade, so there is no money to shuffle from one project to another.
The story of funding CARSA is even more convoluted, involving a 2009 referendum to raise student fees that the province rejected as being too high and a 2011 attempt to have another referendum.
The parkade is busy damaging UVIC’s green cred
Several of the attendees were concerned about how this fit into UVic and the region’s larger transportation strategies. (full disclosure: one of those people was me).
CARSA will make biking/walking to UVic less attractive
CARSA will take a major (12% of total people) and narrow the pathway and redirect bicyclists onto McKenzie.
The kicker here is that UVic already did this once already, with the new Social Science and Math building. Bicyclists used to be able to cross the Ring Road from McGill, never actually having to bike on the Ring Road. The New SS&M building closed off that access, forcing bicyclists onto Ring Road, which is narrow and has a lot of traffic.
So for me the take away is this: does UVic actually care about sustainability? I used to think so. Now I am not so sure. The CARSA April Open Houses Summary (PDF) can be read here or on UVic’s CARSA site.