The City of Victoria has come up with a new plan to free up parking spaces in the cramped downtown core by turning select fire hydrant zones into taxi stands.
“Fire hydrant space, unless there’s a fire is wasted space, so it’s putting wasted space into productive use,” Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said.
There are six locations being recommended for the one-year trial: one at 1200 Government Street, two on Humboldt Street, another at 1632 Store Street and two more in the 700- and 800-block of Fort Street. Signs will indicate the area is designated for special use.
Beyond that, the rules are simple.
“If an emergency vehicle approaches, they would have to move on immediately,” Victoria Fire Chief Paul Bruce said. “The limited spots that we have identified are specifically for that purpose.”
In Calgary, a similar initiative has proven to be extremely successful. In 2011, the City allowed taxis access to 52 spots near hydrants in the downtown core. This not only freed up paid parking spaces, but also resulted in a drop in tickets issued to illegally-parked cabs. The program has since been expanded.
Yellow Cab operations manager Surinder Kang is hopeful Victoria will do the same. “It is quite difficult at this point,” he said. “I’m really excited that it works out and that they may increase more spaces.”
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