Comment: A bustling, joyful Inner Harbour experience

A commentary by a retired software engineer who lives in, and loves, the city of Victoria.

Last Sunday afternoon, my wife and I walked into town. We wanted to check out the Blues Bash and the Classic Boat show, then grab a bite to eat. We live in Vic West, so we walked down Harbour Road and across the Johnson Street Bridge. It was a beautiful day! We turned right onto Wharf Street and headed over to the festival. Here’s what we saw on our way over:

Hundreds of people of all ages walking and enjoying the beautiful day.

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People cycling and skateboarding down the bike lanes.

People carrying their children on bikes, young kids cycling with their families, adults of all ages cycling.

Modest car traffic.

Fully utilized bike parking.

Fully utilized car parking.

At the Blues Bash we saw big crowds and lots of people enjoying themselves on the lawn.

Near the Empress Hotel, we saw many people walking, sitting and enjoying themselves. We saw more people riding their bikes, and we saw dozens of bicycles parked, both in the provided spaces and in impromptu locations. Clearly, we need more bicycle parking!

The scramble crosswalk was heavily used and working smoothly. Dozens of people at a time were crossing, easily, in every direction.

I spent a few minutes watching the interactions at the corner of Wharf, Government and Humboldt streets, where the Tourism Victoria Visitor Centre is. There were people driving, people walking and people cycling. Most individuals followed the rules, although there were a few people in every group that didn’t.

I saw some drivers stop right in the crosswalk. I saw one person on a bike slow down to a slow walking pace and weave through the group walking in the crosswalk. I saw a few people walking cross the bike lane or the road in odd places. But everything worked. Nobody got bumped. People were smiling. People were courteous.

I saw one man riding a bike stop at the crosswalk. There were a lot of people making their way across, and he sat there patiently for what seemed like a minute or two, until a young woman smiled and waved him across. I thought it was lovely.

Later, my wife and I crossed diagonally at the scramble and had a fine dinner at 10 Acres Commons, right across the street. The restaurant was doing an excellent trade.

That’s what we saw.

Happy people. Thriving businesses.

What we didn’t see was chaos, angry faces, drivers hitting their horns, conflict, yelling, gridlock or falling pieces of sky.

We saw a swirling mass of humanity, having a good time, enjoying their city.

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