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From transit to development at Main Street SkyTrain Station

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Main Street station was designed and built in 1982 as the terminus of a demonstration line for the SkyTrain rapid transit system. This project examines the historical experience of Main Street station and how the station area has changed since 1984 when a long-term land-use and redevelopment plan was established. A conceptual framework applies transit-oriented development (TOD) theory to identify commonalities between the 1984 plan and the goals of TOD. The findings suggest that although the land-use plan intended to capitalize on the influence of the rapid transit station with location efficient and mixed-use zoning, development has not been as responsive to the presence of rapid transit as planners envisioned. Construction on the only major development project next to the station, City Gate, began nearly a decade after the introduction of rapid transit, while surface parking lots and vacant land remain elsewhere around the station. The analysis examines factors such as municipal support for the residential redevelopment of False Creek during the 1990s, market demand, land assembly and developer interest that influenced the implementation of City Gate. Finally, an assessment of the present day study area illustrates why successful transit-oriented development must reflect principles of good urban design. This project suggests that if the Main Street station area is to become a compact, walkable and vibrant community, it must have good connectivity, legibility and a high quality public realm.
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