Six "taxi hydrant zones" to be tested in downtown Victoria
The City of Victoria and the Fire department are teaming up on a pilot project to free up more parking in the downtown core.
Based on a successful Calgary program, a one year pilot project is being launched to allow taxis to wait for fares at one of 6 "taxi hydrant zones" instead of taking up onstreet parking.
Taxis can use the zones as long as drivers remain in their vehicles so that they can move in case an emergency vehicle needs the spot.
Fire Chief Paul Bruce says they got involved when approached by city staff:
" It was just from looking outside the box a little bit, seeing what was happening in other jurisdictions. And out parking services people were actually more progressive than anyone. They were the ones who kind of came to us, and said do you think this would be something that could work here in Victoria? And we said yeah, let's do it. By all means."
Bruce says the ability for taxis to wait at the identified spots for their fares, instead of driving around, will cut down on emissions as well.
The 6 test sites are already marked: They are in the 1200-block Government Street; 16-hundred block Store Street; 7 and 800-blocks of Fort, and 6 and 700 blocks Humboldt Street.
Bruce says the hydrants zones were chosen based on safety concerns such as having a secondary fire hydrant nearby, and maintaining pedestrian and vehicle sightlines.
Stopping at any other fire hydrant will continue to be prohibited. The fine for illegally parking at a taxi hydrant zone is $60.
If the one-year pilot is considered a success, some additional fire hydrants may be considered for taxi hydrant zones downtown in 2018.