UVic proposes giant parking increase

UVic, after a decade of slowly drawing down their parking supply, and reaping the rewards for doing so,  has decided to build a giant parkade on north-end of campus. Why is UVic proposing this now? What hass changed that they need so much new parking now? What happened to their much-vaunted sustainability?

The crazy part is that it isn’t even needed. Although there are a few place around the campus that might need a few fixes (such as Arbutus Rd.) there certainly isn’t some giant crisis that only a new parkade can solve. Nor is the proposed parkade in a good location – the north side of the. campus away from most of the buildings. UVic’s own 2010 Traffic Audit (2010 UVic Ttraffic Survey Executive Summar pdfsomething I worked on), says this

The results from the 2010 survey document the continued positive trends with decreases in total automobile-related trips and large increases in both pedestrian and bicycle trips.

One of the big questions is this – Why bring it forward now? I suspect that like the Baptist Housing folks who are replacing Oak Bay Lodge, UVic hoped that it could slide it under the radar in the quiet summer months. Not to mention getting approval before the next municipal election, due November 19th.

Even sadder is that UVic is currently stonewalling BC Transit on a new transit exchange at the university, something that BC Transit desperately needs to expand transit service for the students and staff of UVic, but cannot due to lack of space. BC Transit even started a process to get public opinion on where that transit exchange might go (something I wrote about in April). But UVic claims to have no funding for any new exchange. So where is the funding for this parkade coming from? It is explicitly tied to the sport centre, approved in a referendum of UVic students in 2009.

Thankfully, it appears that UVic run into no small amount of opposition from the local community, causing Saanich Council to delay the proposal until the fall.

Help plan the future of UVic

Come help plan the future of UVic over the next two weeks at two different weeks. First up, on March 17th, is BC Transit’s open house on a new campus plan. It runs in the Michele Pujol room of the SUB between 11am-2pm and 4pm-6pm. See the poster (PDF) for the full details.

On the 21st UVic will be Oak Bay Council meeting for a presentation of the new UVic strategic plan, currently in the planning stages. This is part of a committee of the whole meeting so it will fairly informal as these things go. Join UVic and Oak Bay Council at 7:30pm in the council chambers of the municipal hall. See the ad for the full details.

Tune-up your transportation with SustainableU

The SustainableU people (an interesting mix of the CRD, BC Hydro, Walmart, and others) are hosting a series of workshops this fall on transportation and how people’s choice affect the environment and their community. As they say

Leave with the tools and information to deliver presentations and spread the word to your peers. We equip you with a toolkit and the knowledge to capture any audience – from drivers to walkers – in any sort of setting.

The seminars, two hours long, are free, and there are a lot of them. Take a look:

Tuesday, November 2 Camosun College Lansdowne Campus – Young Building, Room 310 4-6pm
Thursday, November 4 Uvic Campus – David Strong Building Room C103 12-1:50pm
Tuesday, November 9 CRD Headquarters, Room 107 12-2pm
Wednesday, November 10 620 View Street, Room 517(Victoria Car Share Co-op) 5:30-7:30pm
Saturday, November 13 Saanich Commonwealth Place, Cedars Room 9:30-11:30am
Tuesday, November 16 Camosun College Interurban campus, Liz Ashton Campus Centre Building, Room 122 4-6pm
Tuesday, November 16 Gordon Head Recreation Centre, Feltham Room 5:30-7:30pm
Sunday,
November 21
Esquimalt Recreation Centre, 527 Fraser Street 10-12pm
Tuesday, November 23 CRD Parks Cedar Room 2-4pm
Wednesday, November 24 Learning and Career Centre (Naden 136) 8:30-10:30am
Thursday, November 25 Pearkes Recreation Centre 5:30-7:30pm
Monday,
November 29
Esquimalt Recreation Centre, 527 Fraser Street. Pioneer Hall A 7-9pm

The idea is to “teach the teachers”, as it were. The workshop attendees go out and get people in the community to voluntarily pledge to reduce the amount of driving they do, which isn’t exactly a new idea — albeit one that hasn’t been tried here in the CRD that I know of although I could be wrong — just search for “car diet pledge” or “drive less pledge” to get an idea.

Registration is free and is run through the CRD. Visit the Transportation Tune-up page to learn more. As an incentive, they have laid on a few prizes for participants, bikes, bus passes, and similar items. More you sign up, the more you win. As they put it, “Think of this as an eco-friendly pyramid scheme.”

(h/t to Rita Fromholt from UVic Sustainability for pointing these out)