Chilliwack Progress – RapidBus coming to Chilliwack, says Premier

RapidBus coming to Chilliwack, says Premier

By Robert Freeman – Chilliwack Progress

Published: October 05, 2010 7:00 AM

Premier Gordon CampbellA?ai??i??ai???s promise at last weekA?ai??i??ai???s UBCM convention to extend RapidBus service to Chilliwack is welcome A?ai??i??ai??? if perplexing A?ai??i??ai??? news to city officials and light-rail advocates.

Chilliwack Coun. Diane Janzen, who chairs the cityA?ai??i??ai???s transportation advisory committee, said the announcement is a A?ai??i??Ai??very positiveA?ai??i??A? sign the need for A?ai??i??Ai??enhanced public transportation out to ChilliwackA?ai??i??A? is on the governmentA?ai??i??ai???s radar.

But the announcement A?ai??i??ai??? which came without any details like cost or hours of service A?ai??i??ai??? was made before the release of a $400,000 study of transportation options in the Fraser Valley that began nearly two years ago in November, 2008.

Janzen said the city has sent a letter to the transportation minister emphasizing how A?ai??i??Ai??incredibly importantA?ai??i??A? the study, which would include a A?ai??i??Ai??comparative analysisA?ai??i??A? of bus and light rapid transit, is for both regional and local transit planning.

A?ai??i??Ai??WeA?ai??i??ai???re unclear right now as to where (the study) stands,A?ai??i??A? she said.

A ministry spokesman was unable to clarify by MondayA?ai??i??ai???s deadline the PremierA?ai??i??ai???s announcement in light of the unreleased study.

Light-rail advocate John Vissers said it appears the Premier tipped the governmentA?ai??i??ai???s plan for transportation in the Fraser Valley with the RapidBus announcement.

The promise to bring A?ai??i??Ai??a couple of busesA?ai??i??A? out to Chilliwack, which would likely require passengers to transfer to local transit instead of arriving at a central location in each community, suggested to Vissers that the Fraser Valley is A?ai??i??Ai??not a significant concernA?ai??i??A? for the B.C. government.

But more important, he added, is the A?ai??i??Ai??missed opportunityA?ai??i??A? to invest in a light-rail system while costs are low, and to build a A?ai??i??Ai??sustainableA?ai??i??A? community with fewer cars on the road, less pollution, and much-needed commercial developments popping up all along the rail line, particularly near stations.

He said light rail does two things for Chilliwack – A?ai??i??Ai??it gives people an attractive alternative to driving their cars … and development along the rail corridor, particularly near stations.A?ai??i??A?

A?ai??i??Ai??RapidBus does neither of those,A?ai??i??A? he said.

A recent study commissioned by the Rail For The Valley lobby group said a light rail line could whisk passengers from Chilliwack to Skytrain stations in Surrey in 90 minutes, with diesel-electric trains running every 20 to 30 minutes using existing tracks.

via Chilliwack Progress – RapidBus coming to Chilliwack, says Premier.

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