Like it or Not, LRT is Coming To Surrey!

Not really news if one knows light rail.

Like it or not, modern public transit is coming to Surrey and the SkyTrain Lobby are kicking and screaming all the way, why?

The fear, I believe, is that there is great fear that when modern LRT operates in Metro Vancouver, “apples to apples” comparisons will be made between SkyTrain light-metro and light rail. and LRT will signal the demise of the aging proprietary light metro.

It has also been mentioned to me, that LRT will prove embarrassing for many academics, who have spent careers promoting light-metro as a tool to create high density for a more livable city.

LRT operation will also prove problematic for many city engineers, who want all transit in the air on a viaduct, or hidden away in a tunnel, to keep roads clear for cars.

Modern LRT, with over 135 years of development behind and with its inherent flexibility, it can and will adapt to future needs.

Light rail is coming to Vancouver, some forty years since it was first planned for!


Stephan Mehr: Light rail will bring huge transit improvements to Surrey, TransLink manager says

LRT is on the way, says Stephan Mehr, director of TransLink’s Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT Project.

Stephan Mehr
September 12, 2018

Rendering of Light Rail Transit on King George Blvd. at 76 Ave. in Surrey. See Notes / Direction / PNG

 Better transportation for everyone in Surrey is one step closer to reality.

Last week, the Surrey-Newton-Guildford Light Rail Transit Project reached a critical milestone with the formal approval of the business case by the governments of Canada and B.C. The project is now fully approved and fully funded with backing by all three levels of government. The procurement process officially began last week and my team is working to have B.C.’s first light-rail project carrying passengers across Surrey by 2024.

We all know that Surrey is growing. We see it every day. More people, more jobs and yes, more traffic. There’s another 400,000 people expected to live in Surrey by 2040. That makes it B.C.’s fastest-growing city.

With this in mind, we worked with the City of Surrey to carefully study population and employment growth, detail Surrey’s transportation needs and establish its livability goals. Years of work and discussion have gone into the decision that a light-rail system would be the best solution for Surrey to reduce congestion, meet growing transit demand and support the development we all want — complete, connected and livable neighbourhoods.

People look for convenient public-transit options when deciding where to live, work and spend time. Light-rail transit in Surrey will stimulate economic development, job growth and density. This boosts transit demand but also increases employment and housing options. There will be more than 28,000 jobs within 400 metres of an LRT stop in 2024, and more than 34,000 jobs by 2033.

Surrey LRT will serve 104th Ave. and King George Blvd., connecting three of Surrey’s largest town centres. Three-quarters of all transit trips that start in Surrey end in Surrey. That confirms the need for better, more-frequent local transit services and connections.

The LRT will replace the 96 B-Line once it’s open. This B-Line is the fastest-growing B-Line in TransLink’s network. It saw about five million passenger boardings in 2017 — a 50-per-cent increase from 2014. At that rate, ridership demand will outstrip the B-Line’s capacity within a decade. LRT, which can move more than four times the number of passengers than the B-Line, will meet forecast demand well into the future while providing accessible and comfortable service along two important corridors.

Customers don’t want to have to wait long for a ride. LRT will be more frequent, with five-minute waits during peak period, and a travel time of 27 minutes or less. Travel times for the 96 B-Line during peak congestion range between 29 minutes and 50 minutes.

B.C. is joining cities and regions around the world that are choosing light-rail transit to create more vibrant, connected communities. We will learn from the experiences of the more than 400 light-rail projects around the world to make sure we can build this project in the least disruptive way.

This is a historic opportunity. The SNG LRT project is the greatest infusion of transit funding for the area south of the Fraser and the largest capital investment in Surrey. There is much work to do over the next few years before we can ride LRT in B.C., but we are closer today than ever before and are thrilled to say: LRT is on the way!

Stephan Mehr is director of TransLink’s Surrey-Newton-Guildford LRT Project.


4 Responses to “Like it or Not, LRT is Coming To Surrey!”
  1. Bill Burgess says:

    Anyone seen the business case that has now been approved?

    Zwei, replies: If it is like the Evergreen Line extension’s business case, it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on!

    What really makes me laugh is that there is no business case for SkyTrain, as proven by a complete lack of sales for the past 40 years.

  2. Smint says:

    The LRT on 104 and King George will save only 2 minutes. That is a big savings. The first phase of the Surrey LRT is the best phase. At least it will have more capacity and more be comfortable. LRT will be great in Surrey only.

    The second phase, not so good because it will go through a park which means chopping down trees to make Fraser highway wider from the current 2 lanes. Makes more sense to extend the skytrain for a no transfer trip to downtown Vancouver from Langley. No trees need to be chopped down because an elavated guideway needs little space. Just look at the skytrain on lougheed highway in Burnaby or #3 road in Richmond. Yes, You can have both LRT and Skytrain together!

    Zwei replies: Er no. Where is the funding? $6 billion to extend SkyTrain in Surrey.

  3. Haveacow says:

    The business case is a really poor way to measure the success of a transit or transportation project because of the inherently subjective, misleading focus, inconsistent inputs and absolutely contradictory results that can and do occur. During planning school we learned several methods of doing business case analysis. Our professor then asked us to do several planned road and rapid transit projects as a weekly assignment (he loved giving us those)! The next week we showed our results from the various methods we learned on our assigned projects. The results not only varried from student to student sometimes quite widly, it clearly showed that the different methods produced widly varried results on the same project. He then showed us one series of multiple types of business case tests on one project that already existed as if it was a new project. Evidently, the original Yonge Street Subway (Eglinton Ave. To Union Station), one of the busiest and most successful subway Lines in North America, responsible for the majority of the development of downtown Toronto is only supposed to be a slight to moderate success. Yet historically when measured after building 60 years on , the results showed a massive 278:1 result meaning, every dollar invested (adjusted for inflation) has produced $278 dollars. Even 100 years on the professor’s analysis showed maybe a 6.5:1 ratio.

    Now it’s useful when used in conjunction with many other tests and methods but as the sole arbiter of whether you choose to build or not to build a project, it’s a very poor method!

  4. Bill Burgess says:

    Yes of course, the business case studies are biased. So is every other study, in one way or another. But what assumptions/claims are being relied on to make the case for this project? Has anyone seen them? Will the PPP structure make it impossible to compare the outcomes to the projections?

    Zwei replies: Like the P-3 Canada Line, P-3 projects will make it impossible to compare.

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