ICBC Garage on Esplanade

A few years ago I was part of a group for whom Translink (then still under the Liberal governent) presented their plan for the new Phibbs Exchange in the District of North Vancouver.  Although everyone agreed that any change to the current godforsaken, wind-swept emptiness of a bus loop was a good thing,  we also identified three significant and obvious shortcomings: no public washrooms*; no Kiss ‘n’ Ride for passenger drop-off; and no Park and Ride lot for regular commuters.

If you were to take every study of how to increase transit use it all comes down to one thing: make it easy.  Sometimes making it easy is about accepting that a commuter using transit for half of her trip is still better than having her drive all of the way downtown.  Sometimes it’s just easier or more practical to drive to a hub and switch to the bus or Skytrain.

Recently I’ve been studying French at the Alliance Française de Vancouver.  They’re located on Cambie, just north of 49th, so from the North Shore it makes a lot of sense to take the Seabus and Skytrain for classes.

Better still for my Saturday classes was the rather amazing discovery that I could park for free right next door to the Seabus terminal.  On weekends the ICBC parking garage is empty, so it is made available, for free, to anyone who wants to park in Lower Lonsdale. And by “Free” I mean no tickets, no machines, no three hour limit, just park and walk away. Which of course makes the Seabus incredibly easy.

I don’t know how long this has been in place, or how difficult it was to arrange, or who pays for it, but kudos for an incredibly simple solution to encouraging people to get out of cars (at least partly) and onto the transit system.

* Actually I’m positive that they explained that the design included space for a coffee shop, and that transit users could use their toilets!


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  1. Transit investment requires the creation of inviting, walkable Transit-Oriented Communities with the density, mix, and pattern of land uses around transit investments that create transit-supportive conditions.

    There is a conflict between creating inviting, livable, walkable Transit-Oriented Communities and park and ride facilities that encourage heavy vehicle traffic into theses communities, especially at peak hours., and also take up developable space for vehicle storage.

    Calgary, for these reasons, is removing its park and ride facilities. A progressive move.