Dartmouth Crossing
Monday April 30th 2007, 10:10 am

Many of the people who live in Dartmouth and surrounding areas are anxiously waiting for the completion of our newest shopping area. Dartmouth Crossing is located on 202 hectares, which will be developed in three phases over the next ten years, and is located less than a 10 minute drive from most areas in Dartmouth. The first phase, which should be completed this year, will have over 100 stores and restaurants, in a very pedestrian friendly development. There are sidewalks everywhere, which will make it easy for shoppers to walk from store to store.

Most shopping areas built in North America cater only to cars, and not to pedestrian shoppers. The largest shopping area in the metropolitan area now is Halifax’s Bayers Lake shopping development, which appears to have been developed with no plan whatsoever. It looks like it just happened because the big box stores needed somewhere to go. It was originally supposed to be an industrial park, which hadn’t been able to compete with the Burnside Industrial Park. There are one or two main roads, with numerous stores on either side. It is always heavily congested with traffic, and pity help any pedestrian who wants to cross the street to get to the other side. It reminds me of several shopping areas I have been to in other parts of Canada and the United States. Shoppers are encouraged to drive from store to store, even if they want to go just one block. I have seen pedestrians trying to negotiate from one store to another by walking over embankments, rocks and sliding down grassy hills, only a few feet from sliding into traffic. The problem with Bayers Lake is that there is just no room to improve the traffic flow, let alone make improvements for pedestrian shoppers.

If shoppers want to shop at Costco and the other big box stores, they had to go to Bayers Lake until now. We now have a better choice at Dartmouth Crossing, but will have to wait a few months for Costco and many of the stores to be completed. All the streets and sidewalks in Dartmouth Crossing have been paved, and several of the stores have either been completed, or are in the process of being built. There will be several exits and entrances to the development, so there should be no problem with traffic congestion, or for pedestrians travelling by public transit.

Dartmouth Crossing is divided into five blocks, and many stores in the first block have already opened such as Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Michaels, Golf Town, PetCetera, SportsChek, and Staples. Linens N Things, Shoe Company, Home Outfitters, Moores, and JYSK will be opening this month, and Canadian Tire will be opening in the first block by August. Block two is the pedestrian friendly area of the complex, and there will be over 60 retailers and restaurants in this area. Block three will have a 12 cinema Empire Theatre, and several restaurants such as Swiss Chalet, Boston Pizza, Montana’s and Jack Astors, which will be opening by the end of June. Block four will be more industrial, and won’t be completed until 2008, and block five will have the larger big box stores such as Costco and Best Buy, which will be opened by the end of August of this year.

The Dartmouth Crossing website states that in phase one, which will be opened by this fall, there will be 20 large stores, 40 shops, 15 boutiques, 20 restaurants, 10 services, 2 hotels and 100,000 sq. ft of office space. In addition to the huge shopping development, there will also be several walking and cycling trails which will be connected to Shubie Park and other trail systems in Dartmouth. There will be ponds, bridges and brooks in this huge development, which is located next to Shubie Park, on one side, and the Burnside Industrial Park, on the other side.

Many people, including me, who live in the Dartmouth area, are anxiously waiting for more stores to be completed at Dartmouth Crossing. When that happens, there won’t be many of us who will be shopping at the congested Bayers Lake across the harbour.

Have a good day,