Photo of a van parked in an accessible parking spaces.

According to a 2018 report by David Willows, only half of the 24 accessible parking spaces in Victoria meet a basic level of accessibility. In addition, the map indicating these spaces that is provided online by the City of Victoria is out of date and no longer an accurate guide to finding them.

Authored by David Willows for the Accessibility Working Group, this detailed report on the state of parking in Victoria highlights how he perceives the standards of accessible on-street parking in Victoria to be inadequate for use by people with disabilities. He also explains how they lag behind the global trends towards increasing accessible parking in public places.

Willows, a father who has children with disabilities, begins by explaining how accessibility helps everyone. He points out that it not only improves the quality of life for those with permanent or temporary disabilities, but also spurs economic growth.

He then summarizes the City of Victoria accessible parking spot situation with the following numbers:

Because Willows perceives Victoria parking lots fail to meet any nationally or provincially recognized standard, he invented his own “basic” standards of for an accessible parking space. Taken directly from his report, they are as follows:

  • identified with a sign and/or other markings identifying it for use by persons with a disability
  • provides unencumbered side access to an elevated sidewalk with a curb with no obstructions for most of the length of the stall
  • provided with safe access to sidewalk with a curb ramp at rear end of stall or immediately behind stall; does not require a person to transit past other vehicles in traffic lanes to access sidewalk
  • located on right side of street to permit side ramp/people transfer from a van
  • minimum Length of 7 meters to accommodate vehicle and rear-access ramp
  • he also said that accessible parking spots should provide a stable, slip resistant, level surface for entering and exiting from a vehicle

Willows goes on to make the case for increasing accessibility beyond these standards using measurements adopted in other jurisdictions: for example:

  • giving the curbs of accessible parking spaces a distinguishable blue colour
  • providing a pavement marking and a vertical sign for every accessible parking space
  • making the signage more clear and easy to read
  • replacing the outdated accessibility symbol with the modern one
  • redesigning parking kiosks to be accessible for people with disabilities, as they currently are not
  • improving stall quality by either increasing parking stall size or moving their location
  • increasing the penalty for parking in a spot without a permit (it’s currently $150, compared, for example, to Ottawa’s $450)

He concludes the report with an in-depth survey of the accessible parking listed on the map provided by the City of Victoria and notes multiple issues he feels should be addressed. In addition to perceived frequent failure to meet requirements for accessibility, he notes other problems such as spaces being inaccessible due to prolonged construction, proximity of hazardous bike lanes, and removal of accessible parking spots without replacement. The following chart, taken from his report, highlights his findings: