February 9, 2022
Dear Mayor and Council
RE: Government Street Closure The Victoria Downtown Residents Association applauds Council’s efforts to make the Downtown area more attractive to residents and visitors alike. One of the efforts we enthusiastically support is the closure of the two or three blocks of Government Street to vehicular traffic during the summer season (providing of course some limited access for businesses within those blocks).
We believe the Government Street closure, initiated as part of Council’s very successful Build Back Victoria program, provided exciting new options for businesses to expand their space to safely conduct commercial activities outside, while providing a safe environment for customers of those businesses and residents alike to enjoy outdoor patios, street entertainment and the general ambience.
Indeed, the more than 795 people who participated in the City’s 2021 survey of businesses and residents and the related focus group meetings and other activities were generally satisfied with the Government Street initiative and expressed strong support for continuing to keep Government Street a pedestrian priority, with a full or partial closure to vehicle traffic.
Similarly, a number of our members have expressed to us how much they have enjoyed the experience of strolling along the pedestrian-only section of Government Street, enjoying the very pleasant atmosphere for shopping, visiting sidewalk patios, and more.
The Victoria Downtown Residents Association understands that Council may now be asked to consider re-opening Government Street to bus traffic during the summer season. We believe that permitting bus traffic would be detrimental to the vitality and ambience of the area and we encourage Council to consider the benefits of the closure in making any decision on this matter.
Respectfully submitted, Sandra Severs President