Coquitlam’s City Centre Public Parking Management Strategy
By Aaron Guillen, Staff Reporter
Many transit commuters who drive to their nearby SkyTrain station know that parking spots can be rare and valuable. With the upcoming Evergreen Line slated for full operation by February 2017, all eyes are on Coquitlam in anticipation for what the parking situation will look like.
Luckily, Coquitlam is on its toes, ready to face the challenge head-on with what they call the City Centre Public Parking Management Strategy. The plan will direct the city on what measures are needed to be taken to meet the needs of residents, commuters, and businesses, focusing on the Coquitlam Central, Lincoln, and Lafarge Lake-Douglas stations. Such an intricate plan, expected to meet the needs of everyone in the City Centre area, has been placed in the hands of city officials, who have proposed a handful of solutions.
Many aspects, such as the distance from stations to local land use, have to be considered when thinking about how to effectively integrate a parking strategy around such a dense area, especially during peak times. Research from Coquitlam city officials shows that commuters tend to prefer parking anywhere between 5–10 minutes from any given station. Thankfully, the Parking Strategy accounts for the expected demand and plans to expand upon the West Coast Express parking lot by approximately 300 spaces, and potentially remodel nearby parking lots currently being underused, providing up to 170 more spaces.
For those who don’t drive but want to use another form of transportation, the strategy has got residents covered on all fronts. Improved cycling access and secure bike lockers are being implemented, car share spaces are being integrated, and pick-up/drop-off locations are being sorted out in the coming months.
Before Evergreen construction, the province was determined to build around 100 spaces for Port Moody, and 400 in the Coquitlam Station transit exchange expansion, bringing the total to 500. However, after consulting the public the city realized the need for more stalls at the end of the line at the Lafarge Lake-Douglas Station.
“The opening of the Evergreen Line… will bring new demand for parking along this transit corridor,” stated the proposition to city council on the subject, which was unanimously-approved. “As the city is the primary landowner in the area of this station, the province has asked the city to consider accommodating park and ride on its lands.” A smooth success is all that the Parking Strategy is hoping to accomplish. Will the supply meet the demand along the Evergreen Line? Only time will tell.