Langley Times – Editorial A?ai??i??ai??? Speed up transit decisions

Editorial A?ai??i??ai??? Speed up transit decisions

Published: October 05, 2010 10:00 AM

Updated: October 05, 2010 10:01 AM

Premier Gordon Campbell stated on Friday that SkyTrain will eventually be extended to Langley.

In his speech to the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, the premier said that the SkyTrain extension will be part of the next phase of a capital program for transportation improvements, which began in 2002.

The premier gave no date as to when SkyTrain will arrive in this community. Earlier announcements on the SkyTrain extension indicated that it would come as far east as 168 Street and Fraser Highway by 2020, and on to Willowbrook by 2030.

While rapid transit would be welcome, 20 years is a long time to wait A?ai??i??ai??? especially if the growth south of the Fraser continues at the frenetic pace of the past decade.

For some reason, the provincial government and TransLink seem to keep shying away from even talking about use of the interurban rail corridor between Chilliwack and Surrey. A recent study showed that for $500 million, equipment could be purchased, 100 kilometres of tracks upgraded and service inaugurated on a 20- to 30-minute headway.

The cost of SkyTrain is far higher than that. The much-delayed Evergreen Line, which still has a funding shortfall, is estimated to cost at least $1.4 billion, and it involves a relatively short (11 kilometre) SkyTrain extension from the Lougheed station to Port Moody and Coquitlam Town Centre.

There is no doubt that SkyTrain reduces the many challenges of roads crossing railway tracks at grade. However, commuter rail using existing tracks works well in cities as varied as New York, Chicago, Toronto, Montreal and Seattle, so there is no reason it canA?ai??i??ai???t work here.

In addition, extending rail service as far east as Chilliwack would recognize the reality that many people travel from throughout the Fraser Valley to the larger urban centres of Langley, Surrey, Coquitlam and Burnaby A?ai??i??ai??? as well as Vancouver and Richmond. It would also provide a vastly-improved internal transit service south of the Fraser, something that is long overdue.

The provincial government is correct to identify the need for much-improved transit services south of the Fraser, the area of B.C. growing at the fastest rate. However, its insistence on use of the SkyTrain technology is consuming a great deal of capital and delaying projects that are needed now.

A?ai??i??ai??? Frank Bucholtz

via Langley Times – Editorial A?ai??i??ai??? Speed up transit decisions.

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