Gordon Head residents are frustrated by the ongoing issue of University of Victoria students and staff taking up their street parking, making even exiting their driveway a dangerous task.
That was the message sent at the open forum before Monday’s council meeting, where a half-dozen residents turned out to speak about the parking issue along part of Edgelow Street and several connecting roads. The residents are requesting residential-only parking to prevent others from clogging up their neighbourhood with vehicles from those trying to dodge the university’s pay parking lots.
“The reason that we want residential parking is because street parking on the northwest end of Edgelow is unavailable from Monday to Friday for residents and their guests,” said Sarah Roberts. “We want residential parking just like the southeast end of Edgelow Street and Dawnview Crescent.”
During the 30-minute forum, residents raised concerns about emergency vehicles, postal workers and family members finding parking in their neighbourhood. They also highlighted a number of safety issues when cars are parked on both sides of the street, including the difficulty of backing out of driveways, playing chicken with vehicles heading the opposite direction and people jaywalking.
“When people park on either side of my driveway and I have to edge out slowly, I’m almost in the middle of the road before I can turn,” said Ian Danks, who has lived on Edgelow for 33 years.
“I had the bylaw officer over a number of times asking for the people that were parking almost on my driveway, not the 1.5 metres [away] stipulated in the bylaws. I’ve actually had confrontations with people – they’ve refused [to move]. I say, ‘You’re breaking the law,’ and they don’t seem to care.”
Many residents stressed that it isn’t just students who are taking advantage of the free parking on Edgelow and neighbouring streets, noting they’ve seen employees park several cars along the street and then carpool in one to the university.
“A number of the SUVs bring their bike out of the back of the car and cycle around,” said Danks. “If somebody’s standing at the university, they may go, ‘Oh, another cyclist, we’re hitting our green target.’ They’re not because they’re only 800 metres away.”
Coun. Susan Brice, who chaired the forum in Mayor Richard Atwell’s absence, acknowledge the issue and said the district is looking into addressing the request for residential-only parking.
“Staff has indicated the file is still open and the municipality is committed to completing additional street parking surveys in September and October when UVic is back in session,” said Brice. “The data collected will support a larger review of residential parking only in the UVic area.”
But some residents said they would like the district to break university-goers of this “bad habit” sooner rather than later.
“We have had many complaints from residents about the issues caused by those who study or work at UVic parking at these sites,” said Barbara Tabata with Gordon Head Residents Association. “It is our concern that if a survey is done on a day that, say, 50 per cent of the vehicles belong to residents and the rest from afar, then that number would not be sufficient to move forward to [residential parking only].”