Surrey Leader – Donâ€™t dismiss South-of-Fraser transit
Donâ€™t dismiss South-of-Fraser transit
Published: November 04, 2010 12:00 PM
The recent announcement by TransLink, concerning the Surrey Rapid Transit Study, dismissed the Interurban corridor as having no role to play in solving the regionâ€™s transit problems.
During the workshops held in Surrey, participants found it difficult to understand why such a wonderful public asset and low-cost option was so easily cast aside.
TransLink staff seemed to be struggling to find a reason too. So much so, that in the closing summary, the very person who spoke to the media, dismissing the Interurban corridor, was suggesting that a sober second look be in order. A sober second look is exactly what is needed.
Premier Campbellâ€™s preferred option of a SkyTrain extension to Langley City will cost over $2 billion or about $125 million per kilometre in todayâ€™s dollars.
He appears to be a lone voice advocating this Cadillac option. Surreyâ€™s Mayor Watts, Langley Township Mayor Green and many others were certainly not taken in by this shameless ploy to insert a 20-year delay clause into creating â€œbeyond the busâ€ transit options for South of Fraser taxpayers.
With an additional 650,000 residents already starting to flow into the South of Fraser region, the need to influence future land use, by modifying community plans and implementing critically needed transit improvements, is now.
TransLinkâ€™s previous attempts to hoist a transit master plan on the South of Fraser have fallen far short of what is needed for a region scheduled to grow from todayâ€™s 850,000 to over 1.5 million by 2040.
With no master plan we are being forced to make risky decisions, or are we?
If there are options available that involve minimal cost, little disruption to current traffic flow, and speedy delivery, are these not worth exploring first?
This is what many local rail advocacy groups are pleading for.
The recent, very credible, report commissioned by Rail for the Valley from UK transport consultants clearly comes to the conclusion that the publicly owned interurban rail corridor is exactly this low risk option. Langley Townshipâ€™s Mayor Green and his South Fraser Community Rail Task Force of elected representatives have a similar view promoting a passenger rail demonstration project for the line.
Rail based solutions can be a vital part of future South-of-Fraser transit options and they donâ€™t need to cost billions or spend any time on the shelf. The time for action is now.
Valley Transportation Advisory Committee