These folks are all wondering where they’re going to park. Oh wait, no they’re not. (Photo mine)

I know it’s a Sun article (avoid reading the comments) and the slant is obvious, so I dread even linking to it, but I feel the need to comment anyway. I understand that Edmonton is a car-city as it is, I understand that parking is tight in the area, and I understand that free parking is handy when you are driving there.

But Edmonton cannot always be a car-city. More parking is not the solution to congestion in the area, it is part of the problem. Free parking is an enormous subsidy, particularly on land as valuable as this parcel.

Here’s an idea: Increase transit service to and through this area. Fast-track LRT plans. Add bike lanes to the streets in the area. Then zone the land to allow at least 280 residential units (with street-front retail of course) to create at least 280 permanent residents in this central, highly accessible, highly desirable, highly walkable, well-transit-serviced area, to replace the 280 people who just come, contribute to the traffic and parking problem, and then leave.

Old Strathcona is what it is today because it is a vibrant, active, and desirable neighborhood. It will continue to succeed and grow with more residents, not more parking. It will survive the loss of this lot.

While we’re at it, here’s another breathtakingly rational thought: If citizens and city alike supported other, similar retail areas (Downtown, 124 St., Alberta Avenue, East Whyte, Jasper Place, etc.), or better designed newer neighborhoods to include walkable retail strips, there would be less pressure on Old Strathcona to be the only destination in town of its kind.

Create a neighborhood and a city worth living in, not just one for driving through.

Posted by Dave Sutherland Sep - 8 - 2011 0 Comments Categories: Blogography