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Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Councillor eyes space under Canada Line

with 2 comments

Richmond News

But organizer worries parking and servicing limits possibilities

Nelson Bennett, Richmond News

Published: Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A few days ago, as he contemplated the Richmond Night Market’s desperate attempts to find a new home, Coun. Bill McNulty had a minor epiphany.

Put it under the Canada Line, he thought.

After all, the elevated guideway for the new rapid transit system will create dead space that the city wants filled up anyway.

The biggest challenge, though, is parking.

“We get about 8,000 cars to an event every night,” Cheung said. As far as he is aware, there is nothing within the Canada Line corridor to accommodate that many cars.

So here is an idea. Don’t provide any parking at all. Let’s try a car free night market. Maybe work with Translink to get some more buses running until the Canada Line opens, but once there is rapid transit overhead, parking will not be needed. Richmond’s city centre needs to become a more pedestrian oriented environment and this could be the stimulus to change. It fits in well with a new rapid transit line and lot of new residents moving in to new condominium towers sprouting up around it.

Or work with the other retailers on a really stunningly original idea. Stop treating parking as your own space but rather as a public facility. Realise that city centres work best as interdependent places. Oddly enough there is a precedent in Richmond for this. At one time Richmond Centre worked with Lansdowne to uitlize their parking to relieve congestion at Christmas time, and ran a (free) shuttle bus between the two centres. Lansdowne had spare parking capacity then, even at the peak of the season. It should be possible to leave your car in a secure public parking lot or structure, and walk  to several different destinations in one trip. Somehow nearly every other city on the face of the planet has worked this one out. Richmond is the only place I know where it is transparently obvious why the city is not working as others do, yet no-one seems likely to actually do anything constructive about it. Only the towing guys will suffer.

Written by Stephen Rees

August 14, 2007 at 8:42 pm

2 Responses

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  1. The only reason why parking is so necessary for the current location of the night market is that it is in the middle of nowhere, with no nearby transit. But, if the new location for the market would be right underneath a brand spanking new rail line, what better way to get there than to use the rail? (Of course this won’t work for the first year, but shuttle buses could help with this, as you already mentioned).

    I, for one, would be much more likely to go if I could just hop on the train to get to the market.

    Andrew E

    August 14, 2007 at 9:39 pm

  2. I thought the same thing when I read the article – there would be a reduced demand for parking once the Canada Line opens. You’d just have to worry about the intervening period.

    The other thing I thought was that the Night Market could find an alternate site for 2 years (i.e. it could sign only a short term lease for an alternate site) then return to Richmond once the Canada Line is complete and the logistics can be worked out (i.e. construction of raised bike lane, planters and allocation of pedestrian space). That would also provide a smoother transition and a more positive experience than hosting it in a construction zone.

    ron c.

    August 16, 2007 at 11:37 am

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