Election Season Is Near – Abbotsford Mayor Proposes LRT For The Fraser Valley

In BC, when election time nears, politicians are looking for issues to garner votes.

In the Fraser Valley, traffic chaos grows with population, with the obvious results – gridlock.

Rail for the Valley has an affordable plan, yet it fell on deaf ears and still does. The key word is “affordable” because if a plan is affordable it is doable and BC politicians do not like that at all, as they prefer to sit moribund in their taxpayer paid offices and council chambers, traveling to and fro on the taxpayers dime and do absolutely as little as possible, except at election time!

The old saw about LRT in the median of Highway 1, is being used as an election gimmick, but the promoters of the scheme forget one important fact, the cost and by going “greenfield’s” construction is hugely expensive proposition, with costs almost on the same scale as SkyTrain light-metro construction.

The LRT in the median plan also means it will be very hard to utilize and the vast majority of customers will have to transfer at least two times to use it.

Estimated cost for a 65 km Vancouver to Abbotsford Calgary style LRT @ at a very conservative $100 million/km to build – $6.5 billion!

The Rail for the Valley plan is the superior plan because it is affordable and services far more destinations for transit customers.

Today’s cost for a 130 km Vancouver to Chilliwack diesel LRT or light DMU,Ai?? service (a train every 60 minutes each direction), serving, downtown Chilliwack, Sardis, Huntington (for the Abbotsford Airport), Abbotsford, Langley. Cloverdale, North Delta and Vancouver with many destinations within easy walking distance of the line, is under $1 billion.

The real reason is revealed for the Abbotsford Mayor’s LRT pitchAi?? is; “At the very least, Braun said congestion is bad enough to the valley that the highway should be widened.”

The mayor of Abbotsford as shown no “great conversion on the road to Damascus” for LRT, rather a pitch to get Hwy. 1 widened, so more traffic can use it, creating even more congestion and gridlock.

The Alstom RegioTram, would make for an excellent transit servcie for a Vancouver to Chilliwack rail servcie.

Light rail to the Fraser Valley? Abbotsford mayor says itai??i??s not ai???pie in the skyai??i??

By Senior Reporter Ai??CKNW

Abbotsfordai??i??s mayor is floating the idea of building light rail transit (LRT) down the middle of Highway 1 between Surrey and the Fraser Valley to alleviate congestion.

ai???No I donai??i??t think itai??i??s pie in the sky, I said that 20 years ago,ai??? Henry Braun told Global News.

Braun says traffic is so bad on the stretch of highway between the two areas that it is actually faster to travel using the back roads.

ai???Itai??i??s taken me as long as two hours to get from [Abbotsford] city hall to downtown Vancouver.ai???

With the region talking transit mega projects, Braun is now arguing his city should be included. Heai??i??s proposing the LRT line be constructed using the space between east and westbound lanes.

ai???The median should be an LRT surface-based transit system like Calgary and Edmonton,ai??? Braun said.

Braun is not the first person to float the idea of a light rail service to the Fraser Valley. Transit advocates have previously floated the idea of reviving the old BC Electric Railway Interurban line, which ran from New Westminster to Chilliwack until the 1950s.

Braun didnai??i??t propose how the line would be funded, or say whether he thought it should be administered by TransLink or BC Transit.

But he said while itai??i??s clear that the federal governmentai??i??s transit priority is on the major urban centres, itai??i??s time to get the same discussion going on at the local level.

At the very least, Braun said congestion is bad enough to the valley that the highway should be widened.

ai???The freeway was built when I was 14 years old,ai??? Braun said.

ai???Iai??i??m now 67 and the freeway is still the same.ai???


6 Responses to “Election Season Is Near – Abbotsford Mayor Proposes LRT For The Fraser Valley”
  1. eric chris says:

    Patrick Condon’s study in favour of fast trams over slow “rapid transit” has hit the mark. In Quebec, SkyTrain has been labelled environmental genocide, and the purported benefits of SkyTrain, delusional, by two prestigious groups: Montreal Climate Coalition and Trainsparence. They are bent on Green LRT or tram service rather than SkyTrain service resulting in high CO2 emissions which exacerbate climate change.

    “Please read this document and pass it along. Do not throw it away. Consider passing it along.
    Ce document est disponible en français. Merci.”

    “Luc Gagnon, M.Sc., Ph.D, chargé de cours, École de technologie supérieure
    Jean-François Lefebvre, Ph.D., chargé de cours, Sciences de la gestion, UQAM”




    “Two environmental groups, The Montreal Climate Coalition and Trainsparence have asked that the Réseau Électrique Métropolitain (REM) be subjected to a proper climate test to determine the project’s effect on greenhouse gas emissions. This request was made in a letter to Quebec’s Environment Minister, David Heurtel.”
    “Assuming the CDPQ numbers are right, it is difficult to see how we will ever meet our GHG targets by spending over $6 billion to achieve such a tiny reduction. But more importantly, the CDPQ never considered how the REM will encourage urban sprawl, a major contributor to GHG production.”

    “Symon notes that GHG emissions from construction of the REM will therefore cancel the first 20 years of expected GHG reductions from this project. “If I were a college professor marking the CDPQ’s study, I would not give it a passing grade. The public deserves much better,” notes Symon.”



    Take the sand mined from the oceans to mix with the cement for the concrete used for “transit oriented development” or TOD and TransLink is leading Canada in environmental destruction. TransLink’s commuters are arguably the most environmentally damaging commuters in Canada, much more than drivers who drive on roads which are built with or without the concrete subway and viaduct lines recycling passengers from buses using the roads.


    German version:

  2. Haveacow says:

    Montreal is like Ontario it’s loaded with construction grade sand. The real problem with the REM system is that it’s the paid for by the province of Quebec’s pension plan (60 percent of it anyway) and the provincial, federal and local governments have effectively privatised the project. The pension plan agency now becomes a developer to make money off all the suburban stations. Most of which, are located in highway corridors. Guaranteeing more suburban sprawl.

    The other terrible thing is that this project will take over operation of the Mount Royal Mainline Railway Tunnel from Montreal’s Commuter Rail Agency, the RTM. Forever destroying currently the only electric powered rail line in Canada, the Deux Montagne Line and turning it to a useless Light Metro Line with less capacity than the current commuter rail line. Force a brand new dual powered Commuter Rail Line out of the tunnel which it currently shares with the Deux Montagne Line and forever cut it off from Montreal’s main Railway Station, Gare Centrale. Thus also destroy VIA Rail’s plans to use the tunnel and the northern St. Lawrence River Line of CPR Rail to Ville de Quebec, for VIA’s High Frequency Rail Project in the Quebec-Windsor Corridor. Instead of the much longer Southern route VIA is forced to use right now.

  3. Fraser says:

    LRT would be great for Fraser valley because population is rural. It should go from Langley to Chilliwack to start using existing railways. Track is owned by CN/CPR so have to pay rent to these companies like westcoast express. It doesn’t need to go all the way into Vancouver.

    Zwei replies: No, there is a legal right of a passenger servcie on the CPR portion of the line allowing for a full one third usage of the line for passenger trains.

  4. Thomas says:

    Why would a Calgary style-system cost $100 million a kilometer? I believe the orginal projects were low cost but then they went up. In 2007, the Portland Green Line cost roughly $45 million US per kilometre. Assuming ballasted track and few stations, I suspect the cost would be similar to that of adding a highway lane.

    Zwei replies: The Surrey LRT is costing over $100 million/km to build.

    It is the massive engineering needed to go “greenfields”. This is not a city tram we are building, but a railway. The median of hwy. 1 is the wrong location, especially for a LRT system, when we have a railway already in place, with the legal right to operate a passenger servcie, that connects city and town centres.

  5. zweisystem says:

    The BCE route for a light DMU service (a prequel for TramTrain) could be had for about $10 million/km, which would include track renovations, longer passing loops, vehicles, etc. Not only does the former interurban route connect town and city centres, it also is walking distance away from several post secondary institutions.

    A LRT line built on the median of HWY. 1 would cost about $100 million/km to build; does not connect town and city centres and services very few destinations.

    Also most people wishing to use the servcie must transfer at least twice, which makes the tram extremely non user-friendly.

    To be successful, the proposed Valley rail must terminate in Vancouver, and the former interurban route can do this, while a tram on the median of the #1, would be extremely difficult to do.

    Finally, there isn’t the ridership to support a $6 or $7 billion tram that operates on the median of the #1, but there is the ridership to support an hourly Vancouver to Chilliwack DMU service, which can grow with ridership demands.

  6. Haveacow says:

    Also keep in mind that, the $100 million per kilometre capital costs of the Surrey LRT network is due to the fact that both LRT lines will have to purchase vehicles and a maintenance and storage facility for each (although the second facility will most likely be a light-maintenance facility). Due to consolidation within the industry that supplies the equipment for Rail based systems, the relative costs of maintenance facilities and weather protected LRV storage have grown quite high (insurance now requires that the storage facility have a roof and lockable doors to prevent access). No outdoor storage is allowed. Unless the city has a history of operating one.

    Ottawa’s stage 1 Confederation Line costs $2.1 billion. The badly needed downtown tunnel costs about $725 Million, the Belfast Yard Maintenance/Operations & Storage Facility was about $515 Million and the 34 LRV’S were $170 Million. That’s a total of $1.41 Billion. That leaves about $705 Million for actually building all the stations and the rest of the line. The tunnel costs didn’t include building the underground stations, digging the space for them but not building them. It comes out to about $ 67 Million per kilometre. However, if you just did $2.1 Billion divided by 12.5 kilometers. It’s a much larger number.

    Zwei replies: there is a Tremendous amount of engineering to be done if the median of the #1 is used and the many overpasses will have to be rebuilt.

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