Saturday, 22 September 2007

Saturday Photo: Suburban Parking Lot

Lots of room for cars here, more than necessary even. This small shopping centre on Montreal's West Island is making a go of it, but when it was built in 1977 the developers were thinking big when it came to how many parking places would be needed.

When I visited the neighborhood this week, I commented on how complicated it was to get from there downtown, noting that the lot at the Beaconsfield train station was only three-quarters full. A friend who lives not far away tells me that is not the case in winter usually, but that she thinks twice about parking there because there are a number of break-ins every month.

Jane Jacobs would likely find this interesting but not surprising: there are two periods of traffic at the station, from about 6 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. In between there are only a couple of trains which means that the parking lot is effectively deserted with no "eyes on the street" (as Jacobs put it) to dissuade casual theft and vandalism. Another advantage of more frequent train and bus service would be more coming and going in the parking lot, with less dead time for petty thieves to work undisturbed.

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