Closing Douglas Street is ridiculous

Re: “Downtown’s Car Free event ‘a day to be celebrated,’” June 16.

I listened on the radio to a “cheerleader” for the Downtown Victoria Business Association trying to justify the coming Car Free YYJ event.

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It is hard to conceive of anything more ridiculous than closing Douglas Street, the city’s main transportation artery, under the pretext of a car-free day. This has nothing to do with ridding the city centre of cars and everything to do with providing space for people to sell stuff.

Whatever is wrong with closing Government Street to traffic and using that space for outdoor activities? It is a minor traffic route served by only two buses, and they can easily be re-routed along Wharf Street and then on to Douglas to continue their customary route.

An added virtue might be that the merchants of Government Street would be persuaded of the advantages of creating a permanent pedestrian precinct there. It is difficult to understand their reluctance in light of the success of these areas in most major cities in North America and Europe.

I lived in Ottawa in the 1970s and endured the protracted and agonizing discussions about whether Sparks Street should become a pedestrian precinct. Ask people now what they think of it — it would be hard to find a negative opinion.

Mike Harrison


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