Thursday, November 20, 2008

McKee Peak

Abbotsford has been implementing some very progressive policies when it comes to Smart Growth and urban planning. As their Official Community Plan says they want to be “a liveable, sustainable and prosperous ‘City in the Country’”. The core of the community bound by South Fraser Way, Clearbrook Road, Maclure Road, and Old Downtown Abbotsford is slated for a mixed-used city centre. Also, light rail may be making its way there in the hopefully, near future. This is all very exciting stuff, but there is one large part of Abbotsford that is developing in a business-as-usually way.

I work in television, and one of my jobs is to maintain a transmitter on McKee Peak on Sumas Mountain. Back in 2003 it was a mountain with trees, today it is a mountain full of houses. While I don’t want to question the placement of housing on a mountain that people use as a de facto park, there are some serious issues. First, there are townhouses and row houses in an area where there is minimal bus service and no walkable amenities. The nearest grocery store is on Old Clayburn Road. Second, with no walkable amenities, jobs, or mixed-used, people are forced to drive. I can see this part of town getting very busy.

Anyway as I see the east side of Abbotsford develop, I can only hope that there will be an opportunities to provide a mixed-used community core on McKee Peak. This would give people access to a walkable area, plus the mixed-used density would allow for better transit access.

I will give Abbotsford credit for installing bike lanes on Old Clayburn Road.

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