The Grand Betrayal of the Fraser Valley

Coming back from a quickie holiday at Harrison Hot Springs, a few thoughts came to mind on my drive there and back.

Traveling from South of the Fraser, one is certainly  aware of the mass of new housing being built and with scarce public transit or no transit at all, the only way for people to travel, other by horse and buggy, is the car. Industrial, educational, or housing nodes near the former BC Electric Interurban line certainly puts the lie often repeated, that there is no ridership potential near the line.

There is certainly the ridership potential to sustain a regional railway service.

On the North side of the Fraser, housing estates are growing in small clusters from Agassiz to Mission, but from Mission West, massive densification is taking and the die has been cast for transportation and that is multi lane highways and associated strip developments.

It seems the West Coast Express with a limited 5 trains in and 5 trains out schedule is next to useless in diminishing congestion so ever wider highways are in order.

But where is the planning?

There is no planning and despite the hype and hoopla by regional mayors, it seems planning is being dome to suit the politics of who ever is in power.

There will be no future extensions of SkyTrain light-metro up the valley, as at the present cost of about $200 million/km to build and with future lines to Langley and UBC next in line to be built. it will be at least 2050 before any extensions can be made.

South of the Fraser, the situation is much the same, with promises of “rapid transit” starting with costs of $8 billion to reach Abbotsford, means that increasing population will bring endemic congestion and gridlock to the region.

Unlike North of the Fraser, The South Fraser region has an independent rail line that once carried passenger traffic and can be operating a passenger service, from Vancouver to Chilliwack for as little as $800 million.

$800 million could buy the region an hourly passenger rail service using DMU’s from downtown Vancouver to Chilliwack.

$1.5 billion could buy the region a modern passenger rail  operation with a train service leaving Chilliwack and/or Vancouver every 20 minutes!

That regional and the provincial governments, with their secret political agendas, refuse to fund what is affordable and continue to promise a SkyTrain style “rapid transit” line costing $8 billion or more, which will never be funded is nothing more than a grand betrayal of the residents of the Fraser Valley.

 

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