Before the Waterfront Gateway area is sold to a developer (“Waterfront Gateway has suitors,” The Columbian, April 4), it should be considered for developing a multimodal transit center.
Building a MAX station there would make it possible to bring light rail to Vancouver with a minimum of disruption to downtown. Extending the C-Tran bus lines that serve downtown Vancouver to that location would make it possible to cover most of downtown with bus service. This space is available now and losing it would make bringing MAX to Vancouver someday much more expensive. And I do believe that the people in Vancouver will want to extend MAX to Vancouver sooner or later as the city grows.
A transit center is by nature pedestrian-oriented. Including small shops in a transit center would give riders access to shopping and the shops more foot traffic than in auto-oriented downtown Vancouver. I expect some of the developers that have shown an interest could come up with a very creative and pleasing transit-oriented plan meeting the requirements of the city.
Traffic congestion will grow as the city grows even with a new bridge. But the MAX crossing the river would help to relieve it on the new bridge, and also should be considered part of our plan to lessen our carbon footprint over the next 30 years.