Posted on February 17, 2016

Richmond riding rapid transit to transformation

One of the key factors in choosing a home is access to transit and transportation networks. Areas with lots of options mean greater flexibility when it comes to how you get around, and where you spend your leisure time. Buying a home in an area where transit service will increase often means your property value will go up, too.

Cities know the value of transit. Richmond was a champion of the Canada Line, which broke ground 10 years ago and opened in August 2009. More than just a piece of infrastructure, it laid a foundation for the city’s evolution and growth.

“The Canada Line rapid transit system is a planned key element in transforming Richmond’s City Centre,” according to the city’s most recent Official Community Plan (2012).

The future is taking shape today.

City planners have logged more than $3 billion worth of proposals for the city centre, some now in progress and others yet to start. City centre also accounts for a significant portion of the $1 billion worth of building permits issued in 2015.

Among the current projects is Orchid, a 15-storey concrete high-rise Beedie Living is developing at No. 3 Road and Lansdowne, steps from Lansdowne Station. Right next door is Lansdowne Centre, a 50-acre site that’s slated for redevelopment in the coming years with a mix of uses that will add to the area’s vibrancy.

What will the city of the future look like?

It will be denser.
By 2041, the city expects to nearly double the number of residential units to 47,000. Most of the new housing will be multi-family. Population in the city core will double in turn, from 50,000 to 100,000 – more than anywhere else in the city. Plus, 18,000 additional jobs will be created in the city centre.

It will be more convenient.
Canada Line service, which is integrated with the rest of the region’s rapid transit networks, “offers a convenient, frequent, reliable, and accessible travel choice.” It puts Downtown Richmond a mere 25 minutes from Downtown Vancouver. The rapid transit line is also the spine of a series of centralized transit exchanges that Richmond plans to develop that will help unite the city in its own right.

It will be less congested.
The development of transit services has made Richmond a destination for commuters. By focusing new development in its downtown core and making transit more convenient to use, Richmond hopes to cut vehicle trips from 83% of all travel in Richmond in 2008 - the year before the Canada Line opened - to 49% of trips by 2041. Transit use will triple over the same period to 22% of all trips made in the city.

Transit has redefined what it means to live in Richmond and other parts of Metro Vancouver. Commuter cities in the future will not be where people are from, but where they live, move and come into a fuller sense of being.