LRT Is Not Rapid Transit

The real problem with the proposed Surrey LRT is that light rail is not rapid transit, it can be designed as such, but when it is it loses its affordability and operational edge over proprietary gadgetbahnen, like ART SkyTrain light-metro.

The LRT in Surrey is being designed as a “poor man’s” SkyTrain, acting as a ‘phantom’ extension the Expo Line and not a transit line unto itself. This means only those who’s destination is the Expo line and the unfortunates who are forced off buses onto the LRT, will ride the line.

Transfers, especially forced transfers do not attract ridership. TransLink has ignored the lesson of the collapse of bus ridership from South Delta to Vancouver because transit customers lost their through (no transfer) service to one that makes a time consuming break in their journey at one of the most inhospitable stations in Canada, Bridgeport Station.

The premier reason light rail is built is that it becomes cheaper to operate than buses when ridership exceeds 2,000 pphpd on a transit route because one tram (1 driver) is as efficient as four to six buses (4 to 6 drivers) and for every tram or bus operated, one needs a minimum of three people to manage, maintain and operate them.

TransLink does not understand what modern LRT is, nor how to plan for it and Surrey’s proposed LRT well demonstrates this fact.


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An artist’s conception drawing – Date unknown Artist unknown.
25 March 2017
Transforming the Future of Surrey
With Light Rail Transit

Vancouver British Columbia – An average of 10,000 people have moved to Surrey over the past five years.

As one million more people come to the Metro Vancouver region, many of them will settle in Surrey and surrounding communities south of the Fraser.

One in five Metro residents will call Surrey home and the city will surpass Vancouver as B.C.’s largest community by 2041.

At the same time, more and more high-tech, clean-tech, and health-tech businesses are also choosing to locate in Surrey.

Yet, when it comes to rapid transit, we are only served by the Expo Line built in 1986 and haven’t seen any new rapid-transit capital improvements in the city since 1994.

In 2014, the mayors council unanimously agreed on a vision that makes investing in transit and transportation a key priority for the region.

A 27 kilometre LRT network that will connect Surrey City Centre with Guildford, Newton, Fleetwood, Clayton, Cloverdale, and Langley is a key part of the plan.

This LRT network is critical to the future of Surrey.

It’s meant to create and build the community, and establish a ground-level energy and ambience that speaks to a city of the future.

With some senior government funding now in place, work is progressing on bringing the Surrey-Newton/Guildford line closer to reality.

This first phase will connect Surrey’s Innovation Boulevard and other smart-growth knowledge clusters with other commercial, cultural, and recreational hubs throughout the city.

The promise of Phase 1 LRT has already sparked a transformation in Surrey.

New housing and mixed-use development plans are already underway along the LRT corridor.

New businesses are settling here as well, bringing high-tech and high-skilled jobs to the area.

More than 180 health services are already doing business in Surrey.

LRT will improve access to and from this health/life sciences cluster and make it easier for employers to attract and retain employees.

The new LRT will make it easier for residents to live, work, and get around in the area using a quality rail system.

Soon, citizens will be able to hop the train to Newton Town Centre, Guildford Town Centre, SFU Surrey, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Surrey Memorial Hospital, Bear Creek Park, the Surrey Art Gallery, and a growing list of destinations.

With the arrival of LRT, communities, commerce, recreation, and culture will be at our doorstep, making it easier to live, work, play, and raise a family in Metro’s fastest-growing city.

By building B.C.’s first LRT system, Surrey is being bold.

Yet, we are charting the same course as other Canadian cities like Toronto, Ottawa, and Waterloo where urban-style LRT projects are already under construction.

The suburbs are no longer sleepy, bedroom communities.

They’re becoming vibrant, accessible, and competitive places to be.

Toronto’s Eglinton Avenue LRT project, for example, spurred private investment in the redevelopment of an underdeveloped segment of Eglinton.

Located close to two LRT stations, private investors will build a 2,500 unit mid-rise residential development and over 250,000 square feet of retail, green space, and public and private amenities creating a new community around an LRT service that will soon be reality.

We are planning the same for Surrey.

LRT will expand and diversify local employment, help attract investment, and promote concentrated and sustainable growth, as we have are seeing in other parts of Canada.

With more than 400 light-rail systems operating in 50 cities around the world, LRT is a quality, cost-effective, and proven rail transit system that can move thousands of people every day, quickly and efficiently.

Massive, and sometimes intrusive, infrastructure isn’t required nor reflective of a modern, urban, 21st-century option.

Surrey is thriving and the addition of the LRT is a fundamental element in our city’s growth as a major community in B.C.

With an anticipated 100,000 new residents arriving over the next decade, now is the time to start building for the future.

Linda Hepner – Mayor of Surrey.

Quoted under the provisions in Section 29
of the Canadian Copyright Modernization Act.

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