Editor, The Record:
The traffic-calming measures and truck diversion proposal for First Avenue are only a temporary fix to Mission’s downtown woes. Ultimately, a more comprehensive solution has to be implemented. Personally, I would like to see the creation of a proper two-way traffic corridor through downtown Mission and a two-way designated truck route on North Railway Avenue. This would put an end to commercial trucks travelling through downtown.
The one-way street through downtown Mission is outdated and dysfunctional. The one-way concept within the context of this town makes little sense, and is bad for business; it does little to create an attractive accessible downtown. There is considerable evidence that two-way streets are good for business. Two-way streets encourage slower speeds that result in drivers paying more attention to the businesses they drive by. Downtown Mission had a two-way traffic corridor back in the 1950s. Photos show a vibrant downtown that looked rather appealing compared to what we presently have.
Numerous Canadian cities have converted former one-way traffic corridors into two-way streets in order to slow traffic and reap the economic benefits. A good start to revitalizing our downtown core would be to do the same. Obviously, this would require the construction of an overpass to redirect vehicles; challenging perhaps, but not impossible.
In addition, an elevated parking facility should be built over Railway Avenue similar to the design in New Westminster over Front Street. Parking downtown is inadequate and needs to be addressed if business is to grow. Surely, there must be some infrastructure funding out there that could help make this a reality.
New Westminster is a good example of how creative minds can revitalize a downtown core. Fort Langley and Lyndon, WA are other good examples. These towns offer a downtown that is safe, attractive, and a pleasure to experience. New Westminster has a designated truck route, consequently, the noise and inconvenience of truck traffic is not an issue. In addition, New Westminster developed their waterfront for residential and commercial use. Something as of yet, we have been unable to accomplish. There is absolutely no reason we could not do the same here.