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Old April 14th, 2011, 10:25 AM   #1
Yellow Fever
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Surrey looks to light rail to ease huge growth

Surrey looks to light rail to ease huge growth

SkyTrain is too expensive, Mayor Dianne Watts says

BY KELLY SINOSKI, VANCOUVER SUN APRIL 13, 2011


Surrey is exploring the potential of building at-grade light rail on three of the city's major corridors, saying an extension of the SkyTrain line is not financially feasible.

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts said Tuesday the city will actively advocate for TransLink to build light rail across the city and is already investigating three routes: 104th Avenue between 152nd Street and City Centre (near the Surrey Central SkyTrain); King George Highway from City Centre to Newton (and eventually South Surrey); and Fraser Highway between City Centre and Langley.

"I don't want to have SkyTrain cutting our communities in half -that is going to destroy our city," Watts told nearly 500 people at her state of the city speech at the Sheraton Guildford Hotel.

"It's not just about moving people as far as you can from A to B; it's about moving people but also building a community.

"If we don't put in proper measures for transportation we're going to have a mess."

Watts argued the city, which pays $164 million into transportation each year, has seen its population double in the past 17 years, but hasn't had any expansions to its rapid transit line.

As Surrey develops into the region's second downtown, she added, the city needs a cost effective and efficient transportation system to accommodate the growth.

Another one million people are expected to move to Metro Vancouver in the next 30 years with 70 per cent of those settling south of the Fraser River. Building a SkyTrain connecting Surrey with Langley, she said, would be cost-prohibitive, compared with light rail and street cars, which would complement the existing SkyTrain and buses already in place.

TransLink has estimated the cost of light rail at $27 million per kilometre versus $127 million per kilometre for the Evergreen Line and $233 million for the UBC/Broadway line.

"To get around the city of Surrey by SkyTrain is not feasible. It [would cost] billions and billions and billions of dollars," Watts said.

The Canada Line, linking Vancouver and Richmond, cost $2 billion to build, while the Evergreen Line is set at $1.4 billion. TransLink had tentatively proposed building a sixkilometre SkyTrain from City Centre to Guildford and is now undergoing studies for the Surrey route.

TransLink spokesman Ken Hardie said Watts's comments mirror what's been heard in the community so far. More public consultation sessions on rapid transit in Surrey will be held in the next month-anda-half, with a feasibility plan likely expected by the end of the year.

"It's very productive to have those concepts on the table," Hardie said.

The Surrey rapid transit project is part of a transportation strategy for the Metro Vancouver region, which includes the Evergreen Line connecting Burnaby, Port Moody and Coquitlam, and a proposed rapid transit along the Broadway corridor to the University of B.C.

Transit officials, the province and regional mayors continue to wrangle over ways to pay for future transit projects, including the long-awaited Evergreen Line, without raising property taxes.

Watts, who met with Trans-Link Tuesday afternoon, said she wants a funding strategy to be developed within the next few months, with design plans for light rail in place by next year.

"I think the general public is fed up with all of us sitting around a table trying to cobble our pennies together to pay for [transit]," she said. "I would like to see it done within a month or two. You need a sustainable transportation plan."

Light rail is the only option for Surrey and Langley, she insists, adding that White Rock Mayor Catherine Ferguson and Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender agree. Unlike Vancouver and Burnaby, which are tight-knit communities with no more land base, Surrey is so vast and open that it needs more inter-modal types of transit, she said.

Watts argued light rail would help connect Surrey's town centres and boost economic activity, while creating a "vibrancy" in the city, which aims to develop 150 kilometres of new bicycle and pedestrian trails and paths by 2016.

"Transportation is critically important as we shape growth in our town centres. In order to create healthy communities, we need to provide safe and accessible walking and cycling opportunities," Watt said in her speech.

"At-grade rail is cost-effective and efficient, and would not only create a new transportation option, but also increase economic development and improve quality of life."

Watts added light rail is considered a key plank in the city's attempts to boost economic development.

Surrey is continuing to complete significant infrastructure projects in its Surrey Build program, which involves $2.8 billion in construction, including $800 million in new community projects and $2 billion worth of facilities being built in partnership with other levels of government.

The program is being funded through infrastructure fees, secondary suite fees, contributions from the Surrey City Development Corp., gambling revenue, grant money, leaseholds, parking fee revenues from the city's new parking authority and reserve money.

"We are redefining Surrey and creating B.C.'s next metropolitan core by fostering a strong investment climate and implementing innovative social, economic and community initiatives for our residents and businesses," she said.

Watts noted the city has seen more than $1 billion in construction activity in 2010, the crime rate is at a 10-year low, and since 2009, Surrey has helped 356 people get off the street and into permanent housing.

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© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun


Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/business...#ixzz1JToHjPm0
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Old April 15th, 2011, 02:44 AM   #2
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This is something I definitely don't agree with at least for connecting major centres such as Guildford & Newton to Whalley (not saying that all centres require RRT - i.e. to Langley would be too long and infeasible). THAT would not be viable whatsoever considering current traffic patterns & conditions in the city of Surrey. However, there is no absolute evidence, and there's really no cash to play with either. We should start with something cheap and efficient such as introducing new express BRT and reorganizing bus routes (i.e. more community shuttles), that will at least provide improvements, for a 3 year basis or so to collect info on which traffic movements will need what major improvements, before proceeding on deciding anything.

In fact I can name more reasons why LRT would actually do worse to split communities up than RRT...

I've actually been quite disappointed with some of Watt's actions lately. A useless new arena in cloverdale, helping 356 people get off the street.... out of thousands that still live on the street and more hundreds of thousands of the entire Surrey population... claiming to be improving transportation by spending $146 million when the places that REALLY need transportation upgrades are not getting any whatsoever and are being left at the expense and frustration of travelers using both cars and transit.
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Old March 14th, 2012, 07:37 AM   #3
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Surrey's mayor renews call for light rail, regional tolling strategy



Dianne Watts delivers her annual state of address




By Kelly Sinoski, Vancouver Sun March 13, 2012 8:15 PM


METRO VANCOUVER -- Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts is renewing her call for light rail transit south of the Fraser River, arguing rapid buses or a costly SkyTrain line to Langley won’t reduce increasing gridlock on city streets.

Watts said city taxpayers give $160 million every year to TransLink, but the city is not getting the transit service it needs to meet a growing population that is set to reach 750,000 by 2040.

In the past five years, the city’s population has grown 18.5 per cent — more than three times the national average of 5.9-per-cent growth in metropolitan areas. About one-third of the population is under the age of 19.

“When we’re faced with the growth we’ve had exponentially we see the challenges in that,” Watts told a packed crowd at her annual state-of-the-city address at the Sheraton Guildford Hotel.

Using the same stage backdrop — depicting a light rapid transit train — as last year, Watts said light rail is not a “request of the month” and she won’t give up fighting for it. She noted three light rail train lines could be built for less than the cost of a $2-billion SkyTrain extension to Langley.

Just adding more buses won’t be efficient enough, she argued, and rapid buses are “not 21st century.” A SkyTrain to Langley, she said, would run through Green Timbers Park and cut Fleetwood Town Centre in half. This would hamper the city’s goal of encouraging denser town centres, she said, and would only offer service between Vancouver and Langley when 80 per cent of transit trips in Surrey are expected to be in the city itself. Watts said that by 2040, the number of vehicle licences issued to Surrey residents is expected to increase by 50 per cent, while road capacity will rise 12 per cent, meaning a 40-per-cent boost in congestion and gridlock....


Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Sur...#ixzz1p3x0QXkN
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Old May 8th, 2013, 10:44 PM   #4
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New campaign urges for light-rail transit system in Surrey


By Elaine O’Connor, Postmedia News May 7, 2013





Surrey business and community groups are launching a new campaign to get light-rail transit on track for south of the Fraser.

The Surrey Board of Trade announced a new coalition — Light Rail Links — which is joining the call for an LRT solution to the region’s lack of rapid transit infrastructure.

Mayor Dianne Watts has been pushing for years without success for approval of an LRT line rather than a SkyTrain option. She wants to see three light-rail corridors connecting Surrey town centres: one between City Centre and Guildford, along 104th Avenue; one connecting City Centre to Newton, along King George Boulevard; and one connecting Surrey to Langley along the Fraser Highway.

Without new transit investment in the near future, Board of Trade CEO Anita Huberman said, “our ability to attract businesses to Surrey will be compromised. If we don’t have good transportation, which is the foundation of our economy, it will suffer.”

Increased traffic in Surrey as the population grows is a very real threat, she added, noting it took her 50 minutes by car to get from South Surrey to the Board of Trade office at 104th and 144th Avenues.

Light Rail Links stressed that Surrey — the fastest-growing municipality in the region — is expected to grow 50 per cent to 750,000 residents by 2041. Yet it has not had any significant transit infrastructure in almost 20 years. Less than seven per cent of the $6.6 billion spent on rapid transit in the Lower Mainland has gone south of the Fraser.

Surrey residents are fed up with the lack of action on transit, said Elizabeth Model, CEO of the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association.

“Everyone is frustrated. We’re the last one in the pecking order [to get transit upgrades], but we’re the largest economic engine in the region.”

The bus-based system is unworkable for residents without cars, said the Surrey Crime Prevention Association’s Karen Reid Sidhu.

“Youth are struggling to get around the city,” Sidhu said, noting her 240 youth volunteers find it hard to make it to their commitments via transit. It takes some up to 11Ž2 hours by bus to get from Central City Shopping Mall to Cloverdale.

Mayor Watts said it was time for city residents to speak up.

“They need to let their voices be heard,” she said in an interview.

From government and TransLink, Watts said, “there needs to be a recognition that in Surrey, we are building a city. Seventy per cent of growth is coming from south of the Fraser and we need that infrastructure.”

Scott Olson, a realtor and past president of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Association, said light rail was also the cheaper option.

“For the price of one extension of SkyTrain, we could create a complete infrastructure with LRT.”

The group estimates an LRT line costs 1.5 to 3 times less than a SkyTrain extension.

Fleetwood Community Association President Rick Hart said commuters and seniors in his neighbourhood were poorly served: the Fraser Highway B-Line is often full when gets to Surrey via Langley, and buses and SkyTrain presented mobility and safety issues for seniors.

“LRT is something that will assist those people and help them age in place,” he said.

Other citizens’ groups have already been working on the issue. The Rail for the Valley Society has been advocating for a light-rail passenger train system running on the existing Interurban line out to Chilliwack.

But not all Surrey community member endorse light rail.

The citizen’s group Better Surrey Rapid Transit makes a case for SkyTrain as the better option for the region, arguing LRT will get half the ridership of a new SkyTrain line and will continue to cause congestion as it runs along existing roads.

“Current options look forward to this city’s transportation needs to 2041 ... but do not look forward to what the needs will be in 30-50 years and beyond,” Better Surrey Rapid Transit member Daryl Dela Cruz said in an email.

“We want to tell Mayor Watts and TransLink that the solution that Surrey needs is bigger than what everyone wants, and we’re advocating for that bigger solution that Surrey needs – an expansion of SkyTrain.”



Read more: http://www.canada.com/business/campa...#ixzz2SjRvRg2J

Read more: http://www.canada.com/business/campa...#ixzz2SjROJGyq
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Old June 22nd, 2014, 11:45 PM   #5
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I have a feeling that LRT is going to be a mistake that Surrey is going to regret. Not only will they have invested billions into a transit system that will have no connectivity with the rest of the region which has chosen SkyTrain; they will have expanded in population to the point where LRT is not the feasible transportation system that it may be right now.

Last edited by The_Animal; March 12th, 2015 at 03:47 AM.
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Old June 23rd, 2014, 10:40 AM   #6
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I wonder if Sky Train would of been the better choice.

But I can't wait to see some stop names and mockups.
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Old June 24th, 2014, 08:51 AM   #7
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skytrain is definitely better than LRT but it also cost twice as much to build. If the funding is there, then it'd be unwise to opt for the LRT which is basically a longer version of the transit bus imo.
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Old December 2nd, 2014, 09:32 AM   #8
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SURREY LRT


Phase 1 – 10km L-Line which connects Surrey City Centre to Guildford in 10 minutes along 104 Ave and City Centre to Newton in 15 minutes along King George Boulevard.

Phase 2 – 17km Surrey-Langley Line from Surrey City Centre to Fleetwood in 14 minutes, and Langley in in 27 minutes along Fraser Highway.

The system would also include Bus Rapid Transit from Newton down to White Rock.

The capital cost of this system would be $2.2 billion, with a $39 million annual operating budget.

The LRT System would provide frequent and reliable service, arriving every 5-6 minutes, have more frequent stops more closely spaced allowing for greater connections to local businesses and community amenities with 195,000 additional people within walking distance to rapid transit. Being at ground level, it would ease use for seniors, young children, and those with wheelchairs and be integrated with Sky-train service at City Centre.

By 2041, there would be a daily ridership of 166,000.

A Trans-link-funded study that compared 1,000 route & technology combinations and between Sky-train, LRT and rapid buses, found that this model met the forecast 2041 demand on all three corridors, provided the greatest extent of rail transit service and is the most consistent with Surrey’s urban development aspirations. It also provided time savings in travel time, supported land use intensification as well as other benefits.

* Personally I prefer the LRT to Sky-train choice as a Surrey based, Surrey built & Surrey Managed project. Trans link has done a decent job over all (take away the embarrassing SkyTrain break downs more recently, & the absolute STUPID Compass card fiasco).

Trans link is a Regional transit supplier. They do not have a dedicated eye where they are not worried about how this will effect little Tommy in Richmond if Little Stevey adds another station on their end in
Coquitlam.

With a Surrey based transit authority, there will be no " How will Delta feel bout this, or New West Minster "...
We will have a, " how does the King George area compared to Gilford feel about this " or Clover Dale to White rock. Sound Good ?
( like Bad Pit in inglorious Bastards good )
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From Panorama Ridge to Tynehead to East Clayton, Surrey has become home to practically dozens of cities within cities with endless potential
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Old March 12th, 2015, 03:49 AM   #9
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Surrey based transit system is dictating that Langley take what Surrey comes up with...and not complain about it.

Surrey seems to be bulldozing ahead with the LRT, come hell or high water. And there unfortunately seems to be no way to tell the mayor that she is in the wrong. And frankly the whole campaign of LRT for Surrey seems to be blowing sunshine and rainbows up everyone's behind.

Anybody got any ideas on how to tell Surrey and the Mayor's Council that they have their heads up their collective behinds? I'd use the term @**es but that would be insulting to donkeys.

Surrey's population growth for 2041 is estimated to be another 250,000 people; that's on the conservative side out of which they are estimating about 65% of those will use transit; that's also not counting about 25% increase in the current population who will opt to use transit over their cars. Let's say 50% of the current population are utilizing transit which is an extremely conservative estimate due to the number of cars on the road at the time that I see commuting to work myself, that's 190,000 people on transit alone. An added increase of 25% to the amount of people using transit will be equivalent to 47500 people on transit. Looks like the estimation of 160,000 people using transit by 2041 has just been blown out of the water completely. That's not including the fact that visually you can tell that Skytrain is full all the way from King George Station through the four stations in Surrey Proper and there's barely breathing room only by the time you get to Scott Road Station in the morning. LRT adding another 50,000-100,000 more passengers a day will just exacerbate the problem and most people won't want the hassle of getting off one mode of rapid transit only to have to transfer on to another car, their reasoning being: "I just got my @$$ onto the LRT and now I have to gamble on whether I have a seat or not, get shoved by jostling passengers. Screw it, I'll just take my car."

LRT is not necessarily going to be the cheaper option having three branches; Surrey shouldn't and wouldn't go to the point of sticking Skytrain down all three corridors and it would be stupid to do so. Running a RRT (Skytrain) down the main corridor that is the Fraser Hwy Corridor, then branching out with BRT down the other corridors seems to be the most logical.

Unless you're in a car or are a pedestrian competing for space with the LRT, you won't care how much the LRT inconveniences others and increases the potential for accidents. But then again multiple places with at-street level LRT transit systems (Calgary, Houston and Portland are prime examples) have had accidents involving both pedestrians and cars; some of them fatal.
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Last edited by The_Animal; March 12th, 2015 at 04:15 AM.
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Old May 16th, 2015, 10:06 PM   #10
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Latest outreach video from Light Rail opposition group
Better Surrey Rapid Transit

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Old May 16th, 2015, 11:15 PM   #11
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Thanks for sharing. The anti LRT side does have some valuable points about the downside of using the LRT rather than the skytrains.
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Old December 7th, 2017, 06:15 PM   #12
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New study finds Surrey Light Rail will have poor value, should be SkyTrain instead

surrey-light-rail-transit-lrt-f2 by Hung Lam, on Flickr

surrey-light-rail-transit-map-route by Hung Lam, on Flickr

A new report that evaluates major recently-built or planned rail public transit projects across Canada has deemed Surrey’s proposed light rail transit system as a mistake given the poor value it will create for both passengers and taxpayers.

According to Mario Iacobacci’s evaluation and synthesis of business case reports of Canadian transit projects, released in a study published by the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary, the first phase of the ground-level light rail project “is expected to destroy value”.


The first phase is L-shaped, running a length of 11 km between Guildford Town Centre, Surrey City Centre, and Newton Town Centre.

Iacobacci cities a previous TransLink-commissioned study which found that light rail will have a poor benefit-cost ratio (BCR) of 0.69, resulting in an economic loss of $510 million in 2010 dollars.

http://dailyhive.com/vancouver/surre...-skytrain-2017
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