Flights delayed after outlet mall shoppers jam traffic near YVR
Shoppers flocked to the grand opening of a new outlet mall near Vancouver International Airport on Thursday, causing enough traffic congestion to delay flights.
A crush of eager consumers flooded into McArthurGlen Designer Outlets for the official ribbon cutting, filling the parking lot and clogging the road to the airport.
Richmond Mounties were eventually called to help direct traffic on Grant McConachie Way as masses of shoppers tried to enter the 240,000-square-foot shopping centre.
YVR officials confirmed some flights were delayed as a result of the traffic, but said it’s unlikely to be a regular occurrence. Steve Hankinson, vice president of airport operations, blamed opening day excitement for Thursday’s disruptions.
“We had more congestion than what we wanted to see,” said Hankinson. “We continue to adjust [our] plan so that we focus on getting customers to their flight on time.”
FedEx appears to have its doubts, however; the delivery service has adjusted its cutoff time for packages by 30 minutes due to traffic.
The shopping centre, notably the first designer outlet mall in Metro Vancouver, is also set for a major, 135,000-square-foot expansion in 2017.
Hankinson said the Vancouver Airport Authority, which is partnered on the outlet mall with McArthurGlen, will be keeping track of traffic patterns and responding accordingly.
“We are constantly monitoring and planning for the growth of the mall,” Hankinson said.
The new stores will be opening up in phases, he added.
The outlet is located right across the street from the Templeton Canada Line Station, and shoppers were warned to take transit Thursday in anticipation of traffic trouble.
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s St. John Alexander
Traffic backed-up by airport as new outlet mall opens in Richmond pic.twitter.com/nMQNIQXs5m— St John Alexander (@ctv_stjohn) July 9, 2015