Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Duncan adds tiny stalls for tiny cars

CREDIT: Debra Brash, TC
Duncan Coun. Sharon Jackson stands next to her borrowed Smart car outside City Hall.

Victoria Times Colonist
Wednesday, August 24, 2005

By Peter Cowan

After seeing Smart cars in Europe taking up half of a regular parking space by parking at right angles to the curb, Dr. Ron Jarvis tried the same thing with his Smart car in Duncan.

Instead of applauding his space-saving initiative though, the commissionaire gave him a $10 ticket.

"I was curious to see whether there would be any problems," said Jarvis. The city tore up the ticket after he challenged it and councillors then got thinking about alternative ways to park the small cars, which are becoming more popular.

This week, Duncan will add 12 new micro-car parking spaces around the city for Smart cars, motorcycles and mopeds after the idea was recently approved by city council.

Coun. Sharon Jackson had pushed for the new spots after she was approached about the issue last fall. She said it makes sense to try to find efficient ways to park tiny vehicles so they don't need to take up a giant parking spot, especially now that more of them are on the roads.

"A day doesn't go by that I don't see a Smart car," she said.

As well as making efficient use of parking space, Jackson said it is one way the city can encourage people to get smaller, fuel-efficient cars or take a scooter or motorcycle instead.

The new spaces are designed for any car shorter than 2.7 metres. At just 2.5 metres, the two-seater Smart cars will qualify to fit in these spots.

The new spaces, which are about four metres long, are being created in areas that aren't big enough for a regulation-sized parking spot, which is normally seven metres long.

Jackson went around with a measuring tape and a map figuring out where the spots could be added. She said the new ones will be in prime locations, with one spot right in front of Duncan City Hall. Other spots will be on Kenneth and Jubilee streets and in City Square.

"They'll be right downtown," she said.

Victoria Coun. Dean Fortin is impressed with Duncan's approach, and says Victoria should follow suit.

He said parking is always at a premium downtown and this might be a way, for very little money, to create some extra room. "It's a brilliant idea," he said.

For Duncan's Jackson, several days of driving a borrowed Smart car have her hooked and she is now selling her 1991 Honda CRX so she can buy a Smart car.

Her next step is to talk to B.C. Ferries about reduced rates for smaller cars.

© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2005

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