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Victoria's downtown corridor could be transformed if 20 year plan approved

05/01/2015 03:26 EDT | Updated 05/01/2016 05:12 EDT
The Downtown Victoria Business Association released its vision for what Douglas street will look like in 20 years — fewer cars, more bikes and and an accessible pedestrian corridor. 

"It used to be the main street of Victoria, a very vibrant place and as the city has grown, its function has been more about moving traffic in and out of the city. It's lost a certain something," said Greg Damant, partner at Cascadia Architects, who was commissioned to draw up the plan.

Damant says both B.C. Transit and the City of Victoria have conducted studies on Douglas street in recent years and he ensured those strategies were incorporated into the 20 year plan.

"[There's] a fairly clear sense of what the function of the street is going to be 20 years from now, but the challenge is, how do we get from where we are now, to that place in a series of increments because it is a very long process," said Damant.  "You're trying to kind of crystal ball things to a certain extent when you are looking that far out."

The 20 year plan's main goal is ensuring Douglas becomes a complete street that offers access for transit, bikes and cars, but also encourages pedestrian traffic.

"Identify places where we can intensify that activity. Places that would be appropriate like Centennial Square, which is the heart of downtown ... or the corner of Ford and Douglas which is transit's biggest bus stop downtown."

The 20 year plan was recently presented to Victoria's city planning and land use committee. While no firm decisions have been made yet, Damant hopes to do a pilot project soon and implement one component of the plan because he says it is never too early to start thinking about the future.

"Keep this vision of what Douglas could look like foremost in our minds, and if we continue to do that, eventually all of those things will add up and Douglas will regain that identity as the main entrance to Victoria and the commercial heart of Victoria as well."

To hear the full interview with Greg Daman, listen to the audio labelled Douglas street 20 year plan

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