[The third of a series.  Start here.]

It may be one-and-a-half times as long as the route from Lansdowne Station, but Olympic organizers will recommend to spectators heading for the speed-skating oval to get off at Aberdeen and walk the 1.5 kilometres along the Richmond River Walk.

To the north, the best features of Richmond: the Fraser, the mountains, life along the river. 

To the south, the less appealing industrial landscape of the ALO Triangle along River Road.

The block from Cambie to Gilbert is possibly the longest in the Lower Mainland – an unbroken kilometre, without a sidewalk.

Not that the dyke itself was designed to handle a lot of people.  Part way along, the Richmond Yacht Club leaves only a strip of gravel as a half-hearted bypass.

But that’s changing.  Richmond has crews out working on what will obviously be a significant transformation of the river walk.

New  construction promises to grandly welcome the pedestrian – and, I’m assuming, a separate path for bikes. 

It’s a real turn-around for Richmond, where, even in its more recently developed parts, the gap between a true pedestrian- and transit-friendly cityscape and what’s on the ground is regrettably wide. 

For instance, take the route – only half a block – from the south side of Aberdeen Centre to the Canada Line station:

At point 2:

At point 1:

Obviously the city is waiting for redevelopment to resolve these embarrassments.  Here it will happen.  But the ALO Triangle?  Should another industrial zone be scrapped, even if in return we get a transit-oriented, pedestian-friendly, high-amenity neighbourhood?

That leads to one of the more critical planning issues – maybe the most difficult challenge of the upcoming regional plan.  More later.


  1. I would also like to say I’m especially enjoying this series. Classic pricetags for sure.

    But one thing I’ve always wondered is why can’t high density residential co-exist with some types of light industrial, which could make up the podium of a tower? There is already quite a mix in some neighbourhoods, such as Brentwood. I understand land values for residential areas tend to be far higher, and often drive out industrial uses, but other than that is there a reason we couldn’t have a zoning requirement to maintain existing industrial floor space in the event of redevelopment, but allowing for mixed uses such as commercial or some residential?

  2. BTW – if Richmond has selected the ALO to be its “downtown” then my answer would be “yes” – the industrial lands will be replaced by other “downtown” uses (hopefully some office space and not just condos) – simply because of location, location, location (especially since the riverfront at that location is not currently a working port, which could have provided a reason to keep industrial uses close-by).

    As with Lansdowne, Browngate Road south of Aberdeen was a road ploughed through due to expropriation and waiting for redevelopmet (as you’ve mentioned). It’s not very constructive to be highlighting specific cases in sub-optimal conditions.

    If you want to be nitpicky, in Vancouver, check out the areas on the False Creek Flats –
    Western Street south of Terminal Ave. (one block east of Main St.) on Google maps – you see there are no sidewalks there either.
    … Ditto for parts of Station Street south of Temrinal Ave. too.
    …. and Industrial Ave. too.
    Not to mention the newly built Foley St and Earl Finning Place (next to QLT) – neither of which have sidewalks either.
    … and check out Malkin Ave – near a heavily used park – or even any of the other streets near the City of Vancouver’s City Works Yard – the only sidewalks seem to be those around the new City Works Yard.

    In Vancouver, one very dangerous spot without a sidewalk is the east side of Chestnut St. just north of Cornwall. That route is a frequent running route for joggers to access the Burrard Bridge and its a sharp blind corner due to a fence from the neighbouring a[artment block.

  3. Very true, Rod, all those concerns exist, but I think that there are a select number of industrial uses that could probably meld reasonably well into a residential neighbourhood. Yes, it would be a bit noisier I expect, but some people would go for that.

    I also think that, in general, rapid transit should be surrounded by high density development, not low-density light industrial parks.

  4. I also just remembered – 1st Ave in SEFC didn’t have a sidewalk before the overhaul for the Olympic Village (it had a painted line on the shoulder) – and that’s right in the heart of Vancouver, too.

  5. … and I don’t think that Kent Ave. in South Vancouver has sidewalks either – it may be the longest continuous stretch without them.

    Come to think of it, do West Boulevard and East Boulevard through Kerrisdale (say, between 41st and 49th Ave) have sidewalks on both sides of the street? I don’t think that they do.

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