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Letters Feb. 10: Merits of car restrictions at Clover Point

Too many people and daydreams Has Victoria city council ever heard of leaving well enough alone? Clover Point is exposed and windswept, not a hospitable location for lounge chairs for most of the year.

Too many people and daydreams

Has Victoria city council ever heard of leaving well enough alone?

Clover Point is exposed and windswept, not a hospitable location for lounge chairs for most of the year. Other than at the height of summer, even able-bodied people drive in and park before getting out for an exhilarating stroll.

Are mothers with young children, seniors and the disabled now to be forced to brave the elements and traverse the length of the point for the sake of yet another city planner’s folly?

And what about the picnickers? Will they lug their picnic baskets and paraphernalia down and back again?

Go ahead and install picnic tables and benches for those fair-weather days when they can be used, let some food trucks set up and see if the location proves to be viable, but leave the road and parking spaces as they are.

City hall’s plan for Clover Point is just the latest proof of the fact that we are paying too many people too much money to daydream impractical notions and doodle fanciful illustrations of them.

Perhaps we should rid the bloated city hall bureaucracy of these “dreamers,” to be followed by the mayor, who will hopefully honour the commitment she made to leave after this term.

Frederick Shand

Proposal a better use of Clover Point

I love the proposal to provide more park space for pedestrians at Clover Point.

Using a large portion of ­Clover Point Park for car access and parking is a ridiculous waste of this precious waterfront land, and it impedes the full enjoyment of the park by chopping it up into pieces.

In the past year, while the road access has been closed, the park has proved to be very popular.

There will still be accessible parking in the north end of Clover Point Park, and as the staff report points out, closing the roadway will actually make it more accessible for many seniors and people using mobility devices, with the entire roadway becoming available rather than being squeezed onto a narrow sidewalk.

While I think the new walkway and cycling path along Dallas Road is a great improvement, I don’t think it went far enough.

Even more space should have been claimed for pedestrians and cyclists. Instead, 80 to 90 per cent of the Dallas Road corridor remains dedicated to car travel or parking, while hundreds of pedestrians and cyclists are squeezed into a relatively narrow pathway that becomes very crowded on sunny days.

Let’s not make that mistake again, and use this opportunity to reclaim some space for the use of people rather than cars.

For those who say we need the parking, remember that, through the process of induced demand, providing more parking only leads to ever more people choosing to drive, resulting in demand for even more parking.

That cycle never ends, and in the meantime we end up dedicating obscene amounts of our parks and urban spaces to cars.

We need to start providing alternatives, and this proposal is a great step in that direction. It was a mistake when the roadway and parking was installed back in 1956.

Fortunately, we have learned a lot since the 1950s about the damage that catering only to cars can do to our public places, and this is an opportunity to fix that mistake.

Steven Murray

Fairness, balance lacking in this plan

Re: “At Clover Point’s tip, a car-free vision,” Feb. 6.

I was dismayed to read of the parks department plan, made without any public consultation, to ban all ocean-viewing from parked vehicles at Clover Point, and that they revealed the plan only six days before council will vote on it.

Clover Point has long been the best local spot for storm-watching, sunset watching and viewing all manner of ocean activities from a vehicle, peacefully away from the road.

I know times have changed, and there is more desire for pedestrian usage. Clover Point was actually used by many pedestrians, even with cars allowed. I just wish the space could be shared: pedestrian amenities could be greatly enhanced, and ocean-facing parking spaces decreased, without banning all ocean-viewing from cars.

Clover Point, exposed as it is, frequently feels like one of the coldest, windiest spots in Victoria!

People in vehicles can enjoy ocean-viewing 365 days a year, morning to night, in any weather, in contrast to the much more limited times when it is warm and dry enough to be reclining on the proposed lounge chairs, and picnicking at tables.

I walk to Clover Point year-round, but there are not nearly as many days that I would linger there, compared to the days I’d sit and watch the ocean from my car.

Where is the balance in this plan, and the fairness in ­pushing it through without all users ­consulted?

Anne Sikstrom

Try a chip path to satisfy the walkers

Regarding the proposal by the City of Victoria to reduce the parking at Clover Point by 73 spaces, I think that the activity level of the public has been seriously overestimated.

My mother, who died two years ago at the age of 97, loved an outing to Clover Point. I would pack a Thermos of tea, some cookies, the bird book, binoculars and drive her down for an hour or so. A few times we set up deck chairs by the car and sat in the sun with our knitting.

But most of the time we stayed in the car. Her favourite trips were during storms. While the vehicle shuddered in the wind we would watch the waves crash on the rocks, the logs toss on the beach and the gulls flash past in the wind.

Perhaps a chip path around the outside edge of Clover Point could accommodate the walkers.

Parking spaces might be slightly reduced in number, but those of us who choose not to be wet and windswept and who have trouble on hills would be grateful to be able to park and watch.

Sharon White

Add a pathway, but leave the rest of it

Clover Point is a wonderful ­natural area where one can view the mountains and the sea. It is also a wonderful place to watch people windsurfing or hang gliding or to fly kites from the grassy area.

This is beautifully portrayed by the photo from the adjacent Dallas cliffs that was on the back page of the Islander section in the Sunday, Feb. 7 paper.

The proposal sounds like there will be a “Centennial Square” at the tip of Clover Point, with food trucks and art installations that would seem to detract from all the natural beauty.

People go there to be away from the city and enjoy any wildlife that might drop by. The lack of parking will exclude more than people with ­disabilities.

It will exclude families with young children in strollers and seniors who may find it difficult to descend the steep hill on foot. Clover Point should be accessible to everyone, not just ­people living nearby who can walk there.

Has council not learned anything about the uproar restricting car access to Beacon Hill Park, especially the Lookout?

I do think that people should be able to walk around the parking lot, rather than through it — for everyone’s safety. Currently, there are pathways on the east and the south side, but not on the west. This would be a great improvement. Perhaps add a few more benches. Other than that, please leave it the way it was!

Marcia Knowles

Plan limits access to Clover Point

While I approve of adding more park spaces, I believe those places should be as inclusive as possible.

Clover Point has been a wonderful place where people of all abilities could enjoy being right at the water, but current plans limit that access.

Dallas Road has been packed with cars lately and it has been a challenge finding parking, let alone disability parking. Adding only four disability and 17 spots in total will not be enough to give people adequate access to the park.

I love the idea of enhancing Clover Point Park, but if it’s ­only for people who are fit enough to walk or as per the mayor ­“get […] into a wheelchair” and “roll down and visit the ocean,” I don’t think the city is moving in the right direction.

In fact, the mayor’s comments show how planning revolves around common stereotypes about disability: Not every disability is visible and not ­everyone who is motion-impaired is in a wheelchair.

Mayor Lisa Helps’s statement that to her “it doesn’t feel like closing a road” adds insult to injury and reveals the blatant ignorance toward the needs of people with disabilities.

The mayor’s remarks are as hurtful as they are condescending, and it will be very sad losing Clover Point as an accessible, inclusive park in the heart of the city.

Ulrike Karr

Rolling uphill after visiting Clover Point

The idea of making Clover Point a car-free zone makes no sense at all and is the most ridiculous proposal that Victoria council has ever suggested.

There is plenty of room to add the other improvements and still preserve all of the original parking spaces.

The highlight of Clover Point for many people, including me, is to sit in their car and enjoy the view in any weather at any time of the year. Pedestrians and cars have always coexisted just fine and there is no reason to change things.

Mayor Helps suggests that people in wheelchairs could “roll down and visit the ocean” from the parking spots at the entrance. Seriously? When they’re done are they supposed to “roll back up the hill” to return to their cars?

I suggest that Victoria ­council leave Clover Point alone and instead focus on cleaning up that mess that used to be Beacon Hill Park.

Rob Schott


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