There’s a barrier to new businesses and new commercial construction in Valemount that you don’t hear about until it’s a pressing issue at Council: parking space requirements on 5th.
It’s one of those things that we forget about until it slaps us in the face: you can’t expand your seating because
you only have X number of parking spots. It hampers development.
It also keeps us in a car-centric culture. How do we entice people to walk and bike and lead a healthier lifestyle?
If we are indeed going to create more liveable spaces and have a safer, more vibrant downtown, we should be looking not at ways to create more parking lots but at ways to make it easier for cyclists and pedestrians to get around.
The giant bike rack outside Valemount’s brewery accommodates alternative forms of transportation – and if you’re staying for a couple at the brewery, it’s probably wise not to drive anyway.
We also need to think about children and the elderly: walkers and strollers and wagons.
Why not allow businesses or developers to upgrade their doors to be automatic (read: accessible) and install bike racks and stroller parking in lieu of some parking spaces?
This will help encourage a more active culture in town and hopefully decrease the barrier for businesses wanting to open or expand.
Plus, studies have shown that higher foot traffic results in more sales at businesses along those streets. Win-win. Finally, and this is a bit of an aside, it’s not a business’ responsibility to provide parking for RVs in the summertime. I watch these mammoth vehicles smash the Village’s trees in front of our office on 5th Avenue time and again, and I don’t blame them. We do need designated RV parking and big signs.