Ask Pat: Parkade and Noise

Someone asked—

Hey Pat, read your save the parkade post. Agree with all your points, but my main concern is the possible increase in noise since we will be removing a barrier to it. Is the city doing anything to mitigate this possible impact as a result of demolishing the west half of the parkade?


Hi Someone (if that’s your real name!) Sorry to be so late answering. Busy times.

I have heard several opinions about the effect of the Parkade removal as far as noise goes, but there are several stories to be told in regards to the noise. When it comes to trucks, most of the noise is generated low down in the engine and (in the case of container trucks) the undercarriage. For trains, you have shunting noises and the whistles (and general wheel squeak). Each need to be addressed differently.

The City is currently looking at how the Front Street Mews will be developed, and there is every possibility that a low-level noise barrier that addresses most truck noise will be part of that plan. Improving the pavement and aligning the road better will also help this. The train noise is currently aside the Parkade, not below it, although the Parkade probably acts as a bit of a barrier to a few residential buildings in the Downtown. The City’s Whistle Cessation Strategy will hopefully see the end to whistles along that stretch of the rail tracks in the next year or two – but that requires that the crossings are made safer, which removal of the Parkade will assist with. There is no doubt that the noise level at ground level of Front Street can me significantly improved for very little investment, once the Parkade is gone.

Both of these, however, need to be put into context of the longer-term vision for the City’ waterfront. Ultimately, Front Street will not be a regional truck route, but will be a local road serving the needs of New Westminster. There has also been some discussion about the long-term fate of the rails (of which I have a pretty strong opinion).

We are not there yet, but long-term visions need a starting step, and investing in another 20 years of the west half of the Parkade is a step in the wrong direction – good money after bad.

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