[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.