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

Posts Tagged ‘Kerrisdale

Kerrisdale Station

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This is a departure into Gordon Price territory. There is an interesting development at 41st and East Boulevard I went to look at today. It has been there since 2000 so I am sure others know more about this than I do (I did determine it won a Georgy Award in 2001).

Kerrisdale Station

It is next to the former CP Arbutus line, which once was an interurban and has been looked at now and again as a potential LRT route. With of course massive resistance from residents who now enjoy what is still recognisably a streetcar village with good local transit – trolleybuses on 41st and Arbutus, and express buses to UBC, and a few blocks from the B Line on Granville.

The name is a bit sad I think. Like that one down at Steveston, the building simply marks where a station once was. But the building is an unusual mixed use development.

5790 East Boulevard

It is a four storey apartment building that faces on to East Boulevard. The apartments have a typically over arching name. Does anybody take these seriously?

The Laureates

And this is not “affordable” housing. This, after all, Kerrisdale. But the ground floor is, mostly, a London Drugs store. The frontage of the store is on to West 42nd Street which is not part of the original retail frontages which are on West Boulevard and 41st. One sore point for me is that London Drugs is one of those retailers who does not think that window displays are important. That may be that they do not affect sales per square foot, but they do change the interest of the street. I have noticed in other mixed use developments where retail is on the ground with housing over, that it is not unusual for the stores to have windows that are left blank, with blinds down behind them.

There must have been considerable up zoning over whatever was there before. It is considerably denser than the development on the other side of 42nd, and includes retail and residential but allows both to function without getting in each others way. The store has underground parking (as do the residents in a separate gated area) offering two hours free off street in an area which has metered on street places. The parking garage has two elevators one into the store’s ground floor and and the other to all the floors of the apartment building.

London Drugs on W 42nd Ave
But what was a real surprise to me was that when I entered the apartment building, got off the elevator at the third floor and walked to the back there was a complete pedestrian street of town houses on top of the drugstore!

Townhouses on the Third Floor

The level of detail is good, although I was a bit surprised that there is a flight of stairs between the third floor and the “street”. A level access would have been much smarter I think – and at these prices (a 2 bedroom townhouse here is currently listed at $958,800) I would expect it. But that is perhaps a minor cavil. The fountain was a nice touch, if a bit primitive.

When you look around most of Vancouver’s streetcar villages, the retail is nearly always single storey. And obviously this was not a cheap development. More than one level of underground parking will see to that. Now if there had been LRT at the front door, could some of that parking have been relinquished? Especially if there were some co-op cars located there? London Drugs is of course both a downtown and suburban retailer, but does seem wiling to be a bit more adventurous in picking locations. In the centre of Richmond the store is at “Plaza level” (1 floor up) of Westminster at No 3 – next to mostly restaurants at that level. The BCAA and an optician got the largest ground floor spaces.

But what really strikes me is the lost opportunity. The tracks are still there, unused since the brewery at Burrard stopped taking grain by rail. There would be no need for special working relatiosnhips with frieght trains – the last one ran years ago. CP is still the owner, bit the City seems to think they can get the right of way for a greenway. Certainly CP is not happy at the loss of potential development revenues. And meanwhile the tracks rust. And the roads are busy.

Level Crossing

Written by Stephen Rees

April 10, 2008 at 3:42 pm

Posted in architecture, housing, Urban Planning

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